Taipei, March 4 (CNA) The Ministry of Education (MOE) on Saturday denied a media report that at least 30 universities in Taiwan have signed pledges not to teach subjects that criticize or reject the "one China" concept.
Deputy Education Minister Tsai Ching-hwa (蔡清華) said the number was "mere speculation" and that his ministry was still investigating how many universities had actually signed such pledges.
The issue came to light Thursday when it was reported that Shih Hsin University's School of Lifelong Learning had signed a pledge in December not to include in its classes politically sensitive subjects or activities related to "one China, one Taiwan," "two Chinas" or "Taiwan independence."
The university reportedly admitted 11 students from China for the February to June semester.
As of Friday, the MOE said, it had determined that at least six universities, including Shih Hsin and National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), had signed pledges not to include politically sensitive cross-Taiwan Strait issues in its classes.
The United Evening News, however, reported Saturday in a front-page story that at least 30 universities, including National Taiwan University (NTU), had signed such pledges to facilitate the enrollment of Chinese nationals in their visiting student programs.
Some Chinese universities have made it a requirement for their students to obtain such pledges before they could gain approval to study in Taiwan, according to the paper.
Responding to the report, NTU said its Office of International Affairs had issued a statement on Aug. 16, 2016, saying that it would follow the principle of academic freedom in admitting Chinese students, but the university never signed any pledges involving the "one China" issue.
NTHU Vice President Chen Sinn-wen (陳信文), meanwhile, said that the reported pledges were not formal agreements with Chinese universities.
They were issued at the request of Chinese students to facilitate their applications to study at NTHU, he said. NTHU first received such requests from students at one Chinese university in 2010, he said, adding that this year, more than 20 Chinese universities have asked for the pledge.
(By Chen Chih-chung, Lu Kang-chun and Y.F. Low)