Letters tell schools, parents in Malaysia: Don't send kids to study in Taiwan!

Mysterious anonymous letters arrived at over 60 high schools in Malaysia from Nov.-Dec. 

The National Taiwan Normal University Admin. building (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Over 60 high schools across Malaysia have received mysterious letters over the last two months urging high schools not to promote studying in Taiwan to the students.

The letters are entitled “Looking out for the Children” and signed by “Someone who cares about the children.”  

The works are likely produced by a group associated with China’s United Front. The intention of the letters is to dissuade schools, teachers, and parents from allowing young people to study abroad or seek higher education at Taiwanese institutions.

The letters have been referred to as “blackmail” letters by Taiwanese media like the Apple Daily. The letters list seven points which supposedly make Taiwan an inappropriate choice for higher education.

The seven “disadvantages” of educational programs in Taiwan are listed as:

1. Students’ English skills will not improve to a useful level because Taiwan’s English proficiency is so poor.

2. Studying with traditional characters is not suited to the regional market where simplified characters are most prominent.

3. The rise of China and its dominance in the region will also be reflected in education, and those who study at Taiwanese institutions will be limited by Taiwan’s lower stature in the market and in the region.

4. Because Taiwanese schools expend such a great amount of their resources to attract students with various incentives, the quality of teachers, teaching materials and programs is thereby decreased.

5. The most problematic schools are the most likely to offer good scholarships to attract students.

6. The decline of quality among Taiwanese educational institutions is an obvious fact.

7. The rate of employment among graduates returning from Taiwanese schools is only 10 percent.

Taiwan’s Overseas Community Affairs Council in Malaysia addressed the letters last month. They cited serious bias and a misrepresentation of the facts regarding education in Taiwan.

Malaysia has a population of over 7 million Chinese speakers, which makes it a key country for recruiting talent in accordance with the goals of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy.

The letter can be seen below.