Taipei, Aug. 19 (CNA) Lawmakers of different parties at the Legislative Yuan approved unanimously Thursday the revision of three acts to allow Chinese students to study in Taiwanese colleges.
Lawmakers of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) , which balk at any idea of fostering closer ties with China, gave up their opposition to the revision after their counterparts from the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) agreed to write into law three limitations insisted upon by the DPP.
The three limitations are refusing accreditation of diplomas issued by Chinese medical schools, a ban on Chinese students enrolling in departments closely related to Taiwan's national security, and a ban on people without Taiwanese nationality taking national examinations to work as government employees or professionals.
The first condition is aimed mainly at preventing local people who graduate from Chinese medical schools from practicing in Taiwan.
Around 20,000 local people have already graduated from Chinese colleges despite local authorities' refusal to accredit Chinese diplomas, about 25 percent of whom have graduated in medicine, mainly traditional Chinese medicine.
The second and third limitations are intended to deny Chinese students access to Taiwan's security studies or to serve in Taiwan either as civil servants or as professionals in the private sector.
The revisions prompted a free-for-all between the ruling and opposition lawmakers when it was first debated at the legislature in July.
A further DPP request to prohibit Chinese students from working even part-time while studying in Taiwan was nixed by the KMT on the grounds that a similar prohibition is already provided for in the Act Governing the Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.
Instead, the two parties split their differences by passing a resolution along with the revision saying that Chinese students cannot work part-time in line with the prohibition stipulated in the earlier act.
The revisions have cleared the legal obstacles for local colleges, especially local graduate schools, to accept Chinese students, although the Ministry of Education (MOE) has not yet laid down detailed regulations for the program.
An education official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the accreditation of diplomas will not be applied retroactively, which means that Taiwanese students who studied and earned degrees in China before the revision was passed still will not have their qualifications recognized in Taiwan.
"It is the opinion of the majority during various public hearings we have held that we should not reward people who jump the gun, " the official said.
However, those who earned their Chinese diplomas before the regulations might be able to get local certification by taking an examination administered by the government exclusively for them, the official said.
Furthermore, the official went on, the MOE will accredit only the top Chinese colleges covered by a Chinese program formulated in 1998 to develop them into internationally recognized ones.
However, the National University of Defense Technology in Harbin, in Heilongjiang Province will be excluded from the 39 colleges under the Chinese program, while the Beijing Sport University, the Central Conservatory of Music and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, all in Beijing, will be added to the list to make a total of 41 recognized colleges, according to the officials.
The administration of President Ma Ying-jeou has pushed hard for the policy of allowing Chinese students to study in Taiwan, saying that it will not only promote exchanges between the two sides and encourage Chinese students to develop sympathy for Taiwan, but will also help many local colleges plagued with a shortage of students to find students from China.
(By He Meng-kui, Lin Szu-yu and Maubo Chang) ENDITEM/J