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Chinese scholars a no-show at cross-strait symposium

2017/11/17 21:05:24

Taipei, Nov. 17 (CNA) The two Chinese scholars scheduled to attend a conference Friday on historical trade ties between Taiwan and China were no-shows, likely because of political factors.

The Commerce Development Research Institute, which organized Friday's conference, was notified at the last minute that the Chinese scholars would be unable to attend, according to Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) deputy chief Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正).

The two scholars, Sheng Jiuyuan (盛九元), head of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Taiwan Research Center, and Chu Lei (朱磊), a Taiwan specialist at Nankai University, had already arrived in Taiwan for the seminar but decided at the last minute not to attend and returned to China in the afternoon.

Chiu said the MAC respected and understood Sheng and Chu's decision but continues to welcome Chinese scholars to Taiwan for academic exchanges.

According to an unnamed source, the two scholars were unaware the event -- the "Symposium on Cross-Strait Economic and Trade Ties: Past, Present and Future" -- was commissioned by the MAC, a Cabinet-level government agency, and that its chief, Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月), would be in attendance.

China halted official contacts with Taiwan soon after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016 because of its suspicion of her party's pro-Taiwan independence stance, and local media speculated that the two scholars pulled out to avoid being at the same venue with a Cabinet-level official from Taiwan's government.

The symposium on Taiwan-China economic and trade ties drew the participation of scholars from Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.

(By Chai Sze-chia and Kuan-lin Liu)
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