Less than half the number of Chinese students will be allowed to study at Taiwan’s universities compared to last year, after Beijing announced cuts to student numbers on Tuesday.
Last year, the Chinese government approved 2,136 student applications for positions in Taiwan universities. This year, the number is down to only 1,000, according to Chang Hung-te, executive secretary of the joint committee of Taiwan universities for recruiting Chinese students.
Taiwan opposes the move and is urging Beijing to reconsider, reports Focus Taiwan.
“The government’s policy of welcoming Chinese students remains unchanged. Youth and student exchanges across the Taiwan Strait should not be restricted or interfered with in any way,” said the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the Taiwanese government’s body that oversees cross-strait relations.
“It’s a good chance for people on both sides of the strait to better understand each other that simply should not be restricted,” MAC said.
Meanwhile, Beijing has made it easier for Taiwanese students to attend mainland universities. Taiwanese high school graduates need only show a passing grade to apply, compared to in the past where only those with top or second-top grades, or those from Taiwanese international high schools in China with passing grades, could apply.
According to Education Ministry official Chu Chun-chang, there are around 10,000 Taiwanese students who have studied or are studying in China, whereas in Taiwan, there are 9,300 Chinese students.
Chu says an eroding quota will eventually tilt the balance to favour China.
However, Taipei Times reports Beijing’s attempt to lure Taiwanese is unlikely to work as Taiwan only recognises qualifications from 151 Chinese universities.
Unless students do not plan to return to Taiwan upon graduating, this would likely deter Taiwanese students from applying to Chinese schools despite the mainland lowering its admission requirements.
The Taiwanese government will allow its citizens to decide whether they want to study at Chinese institutions.