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U.K. university ranking list removes China flag after Taiwan protest

2018/06/09 13:03:38

London, June 8 (CNA) Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. (QS), a U.K.-based global provider of information on higher education, has removed the flag for China from its listing of Taiwanese universities after strong protest from Taiwan.

On Thursday, QS released its World University Rankings 2019, which included 17 Taiwanese universities on the list of top 500 schools. But QS had placed China's flag with the names of the 17 Taiwanese universities on the ranking list.

It was not immediately known why QS used China's flag instead of Taiwan's flag to show the country the 17 Taiwanese universities belong to. Taiwanese media had suspected it was due to political interference, as Beijing has recently become more assertive in demanding companies and groups not list Taiwan as a separate country.

Working with the Taiwan representative office in the U.K., the Ministry of Education (MOE) lodged a stern protest to QS through phone calls and emails, and asked QS to correct the problem.

Ouyang Yen-heng (歐陽彥恆), head of the education division of the Taiwan representative office, told CNA that his division contacted QS's Chief Executive Officer Nunzio Quacquarelli and other QS executives to express stern concern and ask them to correct the mistake immediately.

In response to Taiwan's protest, Quacquarelli said it was negligence on the part of QS, which tended to release the latest rankings as soon as possible without going through a regular review process.

On Friday, QS corrected the misplacement of Taiwanese universities' designation by removing the China flag.

In doing so, it also removed all of the national flags accompanying the universities in the rankings, but added a section titled "the location" to show where the institutions are located.

As a result, QS used "Taiwan" in the location section for Taiwanese universities in the 2019 rankings.

National Taiwan University (NTU) was ranked 72nd place on the list, the highest position among Taiwanese universities, up four notches from a year earlier.

NTU was the only Taiwanese school to be listed among the top 100 on QS' list, remaining the country's highest-rated university in the annual survey.

Other Taiwanese universities that made it to the top 500 in the 2019 world rankings include: National Tsing Hua University (163rd), National Chiao Tung University (208th), National Cheng Kung University (234th), National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (257th), National Yang Ming University (292nd) and National Taiwan Normal University (308th).

Taipei Medical University, meanwhile, ranked 362nd place, the highest spot secured by a Taiwanese private university in the rankings.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Frances Huang)
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