Academia Sinica’s recent dismissals of researchers who hold teaching posts in China could spark concern about the Democratic Progressive Party government curtailing academics’ right to work with a proposed draft on handling alleged Chinese Communist Party (CCP) agents in Taiwan, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖) said yesterday.
Liu Kung-chung (劉孔中) took a teaching post at Renmin University in China after retiring from Academia Sinica’s Institutum Iurisprudentiae, but was later fired from his job as part-time researcher at the nation’s top research institute, Chen told a news conference in Taipei.
Academia Sinica earlier this year said that “starting from August, residents of the Taiwan area who have a full-time teaching post at Chinese universities may not work as part-time researchers for this institute.”
Liu did not break the Ministry of Education’s rules, which only forbid former public-school teachers from taking posts at academies run by China’s People’s Liberation Army or schools directly overseen by the CCP, the lawmaker said.
Academia Sinica had fired at least two other former researchers for the same reason, he said.
The Mainland Affairs Council in 2017 said that Liu had contravened rules that it introduced in 2004 barring civil servants and public-school teachers from taking up certain posts in China, Chen said.
However, when he asked the ministry to comment on the council’s interpretation, it said that Academia Sinica is like a private school, where such incidents are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, he said.
The council later changed its stance, saying the Academia Sinica has the right to decide how to handle such cases in accordance with its personnel rules, he said.
Liu’s case raises the question of whether professors retired from national universities will be denied part-time jobs at their former institutions if they teach in China or students would contravene the law if they work as salaried teaching assistants at Chinese universities, Chen said.
If the government’s proposal is passed, would academics who legally teach at Chinese institutions, but who have not notified relevant authorities, be considered “CCP agents”? Chen asked.
Mainland Affairs Council official Ho Ta-jen (何達仁) said the legality of teachers working in China is determined on a case-by-case basis.
The council issued a set of criteria that is followed by the ministry in evaluating the nature of such teaching posts, Ho said.
The council has not yet decided on whether the proposed bill should be drafted in such a way that people working in China would be required to register with the relevant agencies in Taiwan, such activity should be banned or if whistle-blowers shoul be encouraged, he said.
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