Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that he would instruct the Ministry of Education to create an online platform to record and publicize details of cross-strait academic exchanges after a group of high-school students reportedly participated in celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at a summer science camp in Beijing.
The camp, organized by the Chinese Ministry of Education and the China Association for Science and Technology, was attended by select students from 40 Taiwanese high schools, including Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School and Taipei First Girls’ High School, the nation’s top boys’ and girls’ high schools respectively, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Su Chiao-hui (蘇巧慧), Su Tseng-chang’s daughter, told a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
At one event, held at Peking University, the students waved PRC national flags and sang songs praising China, she said, citing China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
The camp, which lasted seven days and is now in its seventh year, only required Taiwanese participants to pay an unusually small fee of NT$2,000, she added.
She then referred to another academic event in China targeting university students, which lasted for nine days and cost NT$12,000. That event took participants on a tour of new Chinese technology hubs, historical sites and universities, as well as panels on the humanities.
A private university advertised the event on a dedicated Web page saying that early applicants would receive discounts, while a number of civic groups also promoted it, Su Chiao-hui said, without disclosing the name of the school.
Ideal applicants would have good grades, hold positions in class or in clubs and preferably have never visited China, she said, adding that the event’s apparent aim was to have more young Taiwanese apply for Mainland Travel Permits for Taiwan Residents.
Singaporean university students reportedly had to pay more than NT$70,000 to attend the event, she said.
Over the summer, there were at least 36 groups totaling 335 university students that took part in academic exchanges in China, Su Chiao-hui said, citing statistics compiled by the private university.
In addition, a group of “angels of cross-strait exchange” comprised of Taipei elementary-school students reportedly participated in an event held by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Youth Corps, she said.
She asked Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) whether students should be allowed to continue participating in such events.
Pan said that the ministry has not set specific rules regarding the terms of academic exchanges, which should be decided by schools and their Chinese counterparts.
However, Taiwanese universities often put information about such events on their Web sites without fully understanding their details, Pan said.
The ministry over the summer ordered National Taiwan University and National Chengchi University to remove information on certain events that contravened the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), he added.
Su Chiao-hui then asked Su Tseng-chang whether he would accept a suggestion she made last week to create an online platform to publicize information on these events, saying that even though the government is unlikely to pre-empt such events, it should follow up on them to inform the public of their nature.
The premier said that the government encourages cross-strait academic exchanges, but rejects those that indoctrinate the CCP’s dogma under the guise of exchanges, especially those that use disproportionately low prices to entice young Taiwanese.
Such events should be banned, he said, adding that he would ask Pan to create the platform.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37
ARMS RACE: Two DPP lawmakers said that China’s development model differed from Taiwan’s, as it aims to become a global hegemon, while Taiwan seeks to protect itself Taiwanese national defense experts are split on how Taiwan should respond to the ever-growing budget of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), with some advocating for Taiwan to increase defense spending, while others say that little can be done. The Legislative Yuan approved NT$358 billion (US$12.1 billion) for national defense spending across fiscal 2020, a 3.47 percent increase compared with last year, while China’s military budget this year is NT$5.4 trillion, more than 15 times that of Taiwan. Regardless of whether the government adopts a zero-based budgeting method for national defense spending — in which all expenses are justified and approved each