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“Wuhan Pneumonia” and Academic Freedom in Taiwan

On April 10, a student from mainland China, who was attending the Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan, wrote to the university authorities to protest that his professor mentioned the “Wuhan pneumonia caused by the covid-19 virus” in class. He pressed the charge of discrimination. Ming-Wei Chao, the associate professor from the Department of Bioscience Technology, apologized in class and said, “As a professor of the Republic of China, I will not discriminate against the students.” The university, four days later, asked professor Chao to issue another apology for the using the wording “the Republic of China.”

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s cabinet-level agency handling the cross-strait relations, stepped in and launched an investigation. MAC emphasized that institutions of higher education can allow neither self-censorship and interference of teachers’ freedom in conducting lectures, nor measures that hurt the dignity of the nation. MAC said it will work with the Ministry of Education to find out the facts and adopt appropriate administrative actions to safeguard academic freedom.

Source: Central News Agency, May 11, 2020