Academics called for stiffer penalties and criminal charges against professors who take unauthorized grants from China after the Ministry of Education on Thursday fined National Taiwan University (NTU) chemical engineering professor Lee Duu-jong (李篤中).
Fan Shih-ping (范世平), a National Taiwan Normal University professor of East Asia Studies, on Thursday said that Taiwan-China academic exchanges often occur in a legal gray zone, as Chinese research institutes are more often than not state affiliates with Chinese Communist Party representatives on their staff.
“Academics in the fields of law or political science are more sensitive to the implications of [working with China] than those in technological and medical fields,” he said. “As a result, the latter is susceptible to inadvertently breaking the law.”
National security agencies and prosecutors should take action against professors who have inappropriate ties to Beijing, NTU professor of electrical engineering Wu Ruey-beei (吳瑞北) said.
While a fine might have a deterrent effect in terms of reputational damage and career setback, Lee’s punishment is trivial compared with the sanctions US academics would face if they took part in China’s Thousand Talents Program, he said.
Lee can afford to pay the fine of NT$300,000; the real consequence is the disciplinary measure, which would reflect badly if he were to apply to be a national chair professor, Wu said.
Several US academics were fired for taking part in the Chinese program, and one Harvard University professor was arrested and then criminally charged for lying to investigators, he added.
University faculty evaluation boards are frustrated by their lack of authority to properly investigate or impose meaningful penalties when professors are implicated in cases involving unauthorized financial ties to Bejing, he added.
“School boards have no power to access financial information. If the implicated professor says they did not take money from China or moonlight there, the boards have to take their word for it,” Wu said.
Soochow University School of Law professor Hu Po-yen (胡博硯) said Lee’s application for research grants via the Harbin Institute of Technology while working for NTU is a serious breach of contract.
“There is a system of application and evaluation for cross-strait academic interactions, because we need equal and mutually beneficial exchanges, and we have to prevent professors from becoming tools of China’s ‘united front’ tactics,” he said.
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
A Tainan taxi driver is the Taiwanese with the longest name, after he last month changed it so that it now contains 25 characters, the Anping District Household Registration Office said. The 47-year-old man, formerly known as Huang Hsin-hsiang (黃鑫翔), applied for the name change on Feb. 26, in the hope that it would bring him good luck. His new name starts with Huang Da-lan (黃大嵐) and adds another 22 characters, meaning “Huang Da-lan is the blessed darling and sweetheart of the god of joy, god of wealth, god of misfortune, god of Earth and all the gods,” it said. With
Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group might have lost its right to distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to fulfill a contract in Taiwan, civic groups Taiwan Citizen Front and the Economic Democracy Union said yesterday. In a radio interview on Feb. 17, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, said that last year, Taiwan was close to signing a contract to buy doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, but that the deal was halted at the last moment, with some speculating that Chinese interference was to blame. On Monday last week, the center
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: As China attempted to promote its national image through humanitarian aid, its targets include New Southbound Policy countries, an expert said China’s “vaccine diplomacy,” which has become central to its foreign policy this year, might hamper Taiwan’s efforts to build relations with developing countries, an expert said. “China, as one of the few countries other than the United Kingdom and the United States to have produced a COVID-19 vaccine, will certainly use that as a diplomatic tool,” said Kung Shan-son (龔祥生), an assistant research fellow at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research. Beijing’s major goals in its “vaccine diplomacy” are to promote its national image through humanitarian aid and to solidify its relations with countries that are included in its