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Lawmakers wage new battle over students from China

The KMT says first reading of amendments was approved but the DPP disagrees

Lawmakers wage new battle over students from China

Lawmakers scuffled again yesterday for the second time within a week over government proposals to allow students from China to study at universities and colleges in Taiwan.
Yesterday's meeting of the Education and Culture Committee started according to regular procedure with a formal reading of the minutes of the previous meeting last Wednesday during which lawmakers from the ruling Kuomintang and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party clashed.
The KMT said the meeting approved the first reading of the legislative amendments, but the DPP said no valid vote took place.
The latest meeting reportedly descended into chaos when the convener announced a change of location while a staff member was still reading the minutes of the previous meeting.
The convener declared the minutes as approved, but the DPP lawmakers protested.
Opposition legislators tried to remove the only KMT lawmaker from the committee meeting, but she dropped to the floor and hung on to the leg of a DPP legislator, reports said.
After the move to another room where more KMT legislators were present, DPP lawmaker Chiu Yi-ying tried to take away the minutes from a Legislative Yuan staff member who was reading them aloud. KMT legislators later escorted the woman to seek medical treatment.
In a separate incident, senior Kuomintang lawmaker Lu Hsueh-chang hit out at Chiu causing her to fall, reports said.
At a news conference after the latest round of incidents, the DPP accused the ruling party of playing to China's tune because there were already 2,000 Chinese students waiting to come to Taiwan.
Twice within a week, the KMT had bent the rules of the Legislative Yuan to push through the measure, the opposition said.
Committee convener Chao Li-yun of the KMT suddenly appeared at the DPP news conference in a wheelchair.
During last week's chaos, she fainted and was taken to hospital, though DPP lawmakers said she had played a show at the suggestion of a KMT colleague.
The DPP strongly opposes the opening of Taiwan's higher education to students from China because it says they will take study places and later work away from Taiwanese students while also posing a national security threat.
The government says universities need the extra students to make up for falling birth rates and raise their competitiveness.