Taipei, March 17 (CNA) A total of 72 colleges and universities in Taiwan have signed pledges relating to the so-called "one China" consensus, the Ministry of Education said Friday, asking these institutes to stop such "inappropriate" behavior.
During a two-week investigation, 72 schools reported to the ministry that they signed such study pledges with their Chinese counterparts from 2005-2017, Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said. The ministry "does not recognize" such pledges, he added.
New rules will require all Taiwanese colleges and universities to submit agreements to be signed with schools in China for the approval of the ministry, before they can be inked, Pan said.
They need to send their proposed agreements to the ministry at least one month ahead of the scheduled signing date, he added.
This measure aims to ensure that agreements between Taiwanese and Chinese colleges and universities in no way restrict "academic freedom," including pledges that curricula will not touch on politically sensitive issues, Pan said.
In response, several university presidents described the requirement as practical and said that they will cooperate with the ministry and seek prior approval in future.
The ministry launched an investigation after it was reported that Shih Hsin University's School of Lifelong Learning signed a pledge in December not to include in its classes any 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.
When the issue came to light in early March, Pan said at the time that Shih Hsin had violated Article 33-3 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.
That article stipulates any school in the Taiwan Area wishing to form a coalition or engage in any other cooperative activity or written agreement with a school from China must submit an application with the Ministry of Education in advance.
Several other universities that maintain cooperative links with counterparts in China, including National Tsing Hua University, have also reported signing such pledges, which are called "one China" consensus pledges for their commitment to not conduct activities relating to Taiwan independence, "one China, one Taiwan" or "two Chinas."
(By Chen Chih-chuang and Elaine Hou)