Taiwan as the World Turns, More Questionable Government Promises

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Friday March 29, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Two recent items in today's news make one wonder what are the priorities of the Ma government. The first is that the government will ease restrictions for Chinese students to enter Taiwan universities. That may be well and good if the universities are getting low on their enrollment figures and therefore are in search of some extra income by allowing Chinese students to attend universities here. But there are other items where questions would arise.

These Chinese students will be allowed to fit under Taiwan's National Health Care system--nothing wrong with that but the article does not say what kind of premiums they will pay for this coverage and this certainly brings up a question for Taiwan's Health System that is finding it has to raise premiums for its own citizens. So will Chinese students pay the same rate as Taiwan citizens? More? or Less?

Second, these students will be allowed to serve as research assistants at Taiwan universities. Whoa! Does this mean that they will be taking such positions away from Taiwanese students who may need the financial benefits of such positions? Again, just like health, it is not strange for one nation to give coverage for foreign nationals who attend their universities, and it is not that strange for a nation's universities to give research positions to foreign nationals as those from China, but the bigger question is, will this be at the expense of Taiwan nationals at those same universities?

On a separate matter, Lee Hong-yuan, the Minister of the Interior, promised that he will examine the "heavy-handed" treatment of protestors by police at the Huaguang Community demolition. When one hears such promises, one cannot help but think of the so-called "probe" of the police treatment of protestors when the PRC rep. Chen Yun-lin came here; the police lieutenants and others in charge were given a brief slap on the wrist and then promoted to a higher position. Promises, promises. Let's wait and see.