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DPP blocks legislative review of opening to Chinese students

DPP blocks legislative review of opening to Chinese students

Taipei, May 4 (CNA) Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers locked themselves in two legislative conference rooms Monday to block the review of legal revisions that would allow Chinese students to attend local universities and open the way for Taiwan to recognize Chinese academic credentials.
The Legislative Yuan's Education and Culture Committee and the Internal Administration Committee were scheduled to screen revisions to laws governing universities and junior colleges and civilian exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, respectively, Monday afternoon.
Neither committee was able to meet, however, as DPP lawmakers locked themselves inside the conference rooms at about 12:20 p.m. and refused to open the doors despite appeals from ruling Kuomintang (KMT) members of the two committees.
At one point, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng, a convener of the Internal Administration Committee, asked security guards to try to open the committee conference room's door, but the move failed because the DPP lawmakers buttressed the door with chairs and desks.
Wu, flanked by Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan and Deputy Education Minister Lu Mu-lin, announced the dismissal of the session at 5: 30 p.m. after his last appeal to his DPP colleagues to open the door failed.
Legislative Yuan staff said later they noted in the minutes of the meeting that the dismissal was announced at the entrance of the conference room, which was unprecedented in Taiwan's legislative history.
Describing Monday as a dark day for the legislature, Wu said it was a shame that DPP lawmakers had impeded legislative operations by occupying and locking up the conference halls.
Wu said that to maintain legislative harmony, he decided to dismiss the meeting in his capacity as the session's chairman, ending a five-hour standoff.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng said the DPP lawmakers have set an extremely vicious precedent in obstructing the legislature's operations.
"Such a move was unacceptable from any viewpoint, " Wang charged, saying that the DPP lawmakers' irresponsible action not only tarnished their party's reputation but also that of the legislature as well.
DPP members in the Education and Culture Committee adopted a similar strategy to block the scheduled screening of the University Act and the Junior College Act.
Hearings on the two draft revisions were held in the morning, when DPP lawmakers voiced strong opposition to the government's plans.
DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling argued that recognizing Chinese academic credentials will encourage Taiwanese students to pursue higher education at Chinese universities because tuition is lower and their diplomas are recognized in most countries around the world.
"The proposed open-door policy would only hurt the survival of private Taiwanese universities or colleges rather than help them recruit more students," Kuan suggested.
DPP lawmakers also questioned why the Education Ministry intended to open the door to Chinese students ahead of schedule, but Minister of Education Cheng Jei-cheng denied that the timetable had changed.
"The schedule to allow enrollment of Chinese students at local graduate institutes from February 2010 and entry of Chinese students at local universities and junior colleges from next autumn has remained unchanged," Cheng assured lawmakers.
The minister was one of those locked out of the afternoon session. He said it was understandable that DPP lawmakers had different views on the issues, but that it was time to move forward after having communicated a number of times with DPP legislators on the revisions.
"Now that the ministry has already fully explained policy details, it's time for the legislature to screen relevant provisions of the law to finalize the legislation, " Cheng said.
According to the ministry's plan, the open-door policy will be phased in and backed by complementary measures.
In the initial stage, the ministry will recognize diplomas issued by 39 universities selected by China for quality upgrading under its "Project 985" and some arts and sports universities listed in its "Project 211." Meanwhile, the number of Chinese students allowed to enrool at local universities and colleges will be capped at between 1,000 and 2,000.
The students will be barred from taking part-time jobs during school days and be required to leave Taiwan after graduation or suspension of their studies and will not be allowed to seek professional licenses or take part in civil service exams.
(By Sofia Wu)




Updated : 2021-10-22 12:44 GMT+08:00