Chinese undergrads studying in Taiwan on steady decline

Some media outlets in Taiwan suggest that Beijing is worried about young students in bachelor's programs being too 'easily liberalized' and developing pro-Taiwan attitudes

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University graduation ceremony in Taiwan

University graduation ceremony in Taiwan (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The number of students from China studying in Taiwan this year appears to have taken a steady drop compared to the increases in previous years, with some observers suggesting that China is putting tighter controls on the selection and approval of students coming to study in Taiwan.

A report from Liberty Times suggests that Beijing has become increasingly concerned that young students, especially undergrads, are immature and thus “easily liberalized,” and for that reason may be limiting the number of students who come to Taiwan to study for university.

At the end of May, the University Entrance Committee for Chinese Students announced that there are only 800 students from China currently remaining in bachelor’s degree programs at Taiwanese universities.

However, the number of students enrolled in Taiwan's master or doctorate degree programs for the school year 2018 is slightly higher at 1,325 students at 77 universities throughout Taiwan, which is a new record high for Chinese students in Taiwan's post-bachelor programs.

Some commentators suggest that since master’s degree programs last a shorter amount of time, and because PhD candidates are likely already mature adults, there is less concern about students in those programs.

However, the number of young students enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs appears to be on a steady decline.

An official speaking anonymously with Liberty Times, who works in a Taiwanese Universities dealing with Chinese students and who would visit China to recruit students, is reported as saying that previously officials from provincial governments in China would chauffer them around on their visits to the country.

As of May this year, those recruitment trips have stopped, and such treatment from the Chinese government is a thing of the past.

Recently in December, 2017, Hunan province re-posted a 2011 notice issued by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on the provincial government’s website. The document ostensibly “restricts” Taiwanese authorities and educational institutions from promoting or consulting on matters of studying in Taiwan with students.

Observers have pointed to this as evidence that Chinese schools and the Chinese government are purposefully restricting the number of undergraduate students allowed to study abroad in Taiwan.

A Chinese student speaking with Liberty Times claimed that students who return to China after studying in Taiwan, are often unable to work in public service. They are seen as unsuitable, and avoided by state employers as though they are “infected.”