TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Following two weeks of investigations after several renowned Taiwanese universities were found to have signed deals with their Chinese counterparts to exclude politically sensitive topics in textbooks or courses offered to Chinese students at schools, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) concluded Friday that a total of 72 universities or colleges has signed the equivalents with China in the period between 2005 and 2017.
Pan added that such inter-school agreements will be required to be submitted for review and approval at least one month before the signing, while the clauses should not infringe the freedom of expression at schools.
The 72 schools involved in the inappropriate agreements will receive a warning letter from the ministry for their negligence in honoring the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.
The academic disgrace was brought to public attention after media reports that Shih Hsin University's lifelong learning center signed an agreement late last year with Zhejiang Sci-tech University in exchange for 11 Chinese students to study at the school between February and June of this year. The school consented to mute any politically-sensitive subject matters regarding the One China, One Taiwan policy, the two-China policy and Taiwan Independence in textbooks or courses offered to the Chinese students, and was later found not to be the first of its kind in the country.
In less than a week, more local renowned universities were found to have signed the equivalents with universities in China, which were described as “one-China clauses” by local media but were denied by schools, including National Tsing Hua University and Chung Yuan Christian University.
Pan said that the universities can still continue academic exchanges with Chinese education institutions but that they should be based on the principles of equal footing and mutual benefits. He encouraged the schools to continue the cross-strait academic exchanges in the format of “letters of invitation” instead of “letters of agreement,” without compromising the freedom of expression at schools.
According to the Ministry of Education, a total of 72 local universities and colleges have signed the agreements with universities from 26 Chinese provinces during the period between 2005 and 2017. Zhejiang Province tops the numbers of agreements.