Taipei--China has cut by more than half the number of Chinese students permitted to study in Taiwan for the current academic year, a decision Taiwan called on it to reconsider.
Chang Hung-te (???), executive secretary of the joint committee of Taiwan universities for recruiting Chinese students, said Chinese authorities approved only 1,000 Chinese students to apply for positions in Taiwan universities this year, down from 2,136 last year.
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which is in charge of Taiwan's China policy, urged Beijing not to restrict the quota assigned to Chinese students who want to study in 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 MAC.
Of the 1,000 applicants from China, 944 have been accepted, according to Chang, who noted that the 94 percent admittance rate is higher than last year.
The MAC said that Chinese students attending classes in Taiwan have a chance to experience Taiwan's academic freedom as well as its democratic and multicultural way of life, while they also have an opportunity to share China's developmental experience with Taiwanese students.
"It's a good chance for people on both sides of the strait to better understand each other that simply should not be restricted," said the MAC.
At the same time as China has cut its student quota for Taiwan, it has also relaxed rules on recruiting Taiwanese students to its own higher education institutions.
China's Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday -- one day after Taiwanese high school graduates sat through a college entrance exam -- any Taiwanese high school graduate with a passing grade can now apply for a position at a Chinese university.
Previously, only high school graduates from Taiwan with top or second-top grades, or those from Taiwanese expat high schools in China with passing grades, could apply for admission to Chinese universities.
Currently, about 10,000 Taiwanese students have studied or are studying in China, compared with 9,300 Chinese students in Taiwan. This balance is likely to shift in favor of China if it continues to shrink the quota for Taiwan, said Chu Chun-chang (???), an education ministry official.
Observers have said that students and tourists have apparently become a tool China is determined to use to "punish" the Democratic Progressive Party government of President Tsai Ing-wen (???) for her refusal to acknowledge the "one China" principle since her inauguration last year.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel