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Taiwan to continue to lighten restrictions on China students

TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that his government will continue to ease the restrictions that apply to Chinese nationals studying in Taiwan, amid complaints of overly stringent regulations regarding Chinese students.

Ma pointed out that the government recently added another 70 Chinese universities to the list of institutions recognized by Taiwan, bringing the total to 111.

In addition, the government is working to include Chinese students in the National Health Insurance program and allow them to serve as research assistants, he said.

“Basically, we are moving in a direction of liberalization toward Chinese students,” the president said during a forum with students of Tunghai University in Taichung City.

At the event, a student from China said that one month after his arrival in Taiwan, he made a decision to pursue advanced studies at a Taiwan university and therefore hopes the restrictions will be lifted to allow easier admission of Chinese students to graduate programs.

Taiwan universities began admitting Chinese students in 2011 in keeping with a government initiative to increase interaction and understanding among students from both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

The Taiwan government, however, has imposed various restrictions regarding the schools from which Chinese students can be drawn, the departments in in which they can enroll in Taiwan universities, and the number of admissions.

Also, Taiwan only accepts students from eight Chinese provinces and cities at present.

The results of a survey conducted recently by the Taiwan Research Institute of Xiamen University found that these restrictions can discourage Chinese students from studying in Taiwan.

Of the 3,138 senior high and university students from Fujian, Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces who took part in the survey, 20.9 percent said they had no interest in studying in Taiwan, citing the restrictions on Chinese students.

The 39.1 percent who said they would like to study in Taiwan listed as positive factors the good reputation of Taiwan's universities, good public order in Taiwan, and lower tuition fees than in the United States or Europe.

The other 40 percent did not express an opinion on the matter.

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