TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Oct. 3, prominent media personality Yang Sen-hong (楊憲宏) and New York attorney Tung Wen-hsun (童文薰) took President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Ph. D. dissertation to the Control Yuan with allegations that Tsai had plagiarized the work.
The charge would be a serious violation of academic ethics. Control Yuan members Wang Yu-Ling (王幼玲) and Wang Mei-yu (王美玉) pointed out that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to conduct official inspections to determine the qualifications of officials with academic records in foreign countries.
Article 16 of Taiwan’s “Degree Conferral Act” (學位授予法) states the following.
1. A person who obtains a doctoral or master’s degree shall submit their thesis or dissertation, written report, technical report, or professional practice report through the school to the National Central Library and the school’s library for storage, as a document, videotape, cassette, disc or in some other form, and they shall also provide an electronic file version.
2. A copy of the dissertation, thesis, written report, technical report, or professional practice report stored by the National Central Library shall be made available to the public to read within the library in print form or by accessing electronic data files using independent equipment…
…If, however, the content involves confidential information, patent matters, or is not permitted to be provided on statutory grounds and this has been confirmed by the university, the person is permitted to not provide a copy or public access to the material in question will be placed under embargo for a certain period.
On Sept. 29, President Tsai's dissertation was submitted to the National Central Library where it was received by Lee Yi-rong (李宜容). It was then authorized to be published in its entirety in the library's dissertation database (https://ndltd.ncl.edu.tw).
The reason Yang questioned the authenticity of Tsai’s dissertation project was related to the fact that Tsai’s dissertation was not stored in the National Central Library, and therefore is not subject to the stipulations of the “Library Act” (圖書館法) and not searchable in the national database of dissertations. For this reason, Yang argues that state must refer to the “Degree Conferral Act.”Yang argue that it should have been submitted to the National Central Library "through the school" and should not have been submitted by Tsai herself.
The National Central Library’s website states that the national dissertation database contains the following categories of theses and dissertations granted by foreign institutions.
1. International Sinology Ph.D. dissertations
2. Masters theses and dissertations from China
3. Theses and dissertations from foreign universities submitted by Ph.D. holders
Yang asks why Tsai's dissertation was not made available in the National Library's dissertation database.
(Screenshot of National Central Library's dissertation database webpage)