Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) The Ministry of Education (MOE) sent a letter to Taiwanese universities last week, urging them to remind Chinese students that acts of vandalism or violence could lead to the cancellation of their entry permits, an official told CNA.
The letter follows a spate of recent incidents at campus Lennon Walls, where messages of support for Hong Kong have led to political conflict, often pitting students from Taiwan and Hong Kong against students and tourists from China.
In an interview with CNA, Chu Chun-chang (朱俊章), director of the ministry's Department of Higher Education, said the decision to send the letter was made following the Oct. 8 deportation of a Chinese tourist who was filmed tearing down messages at a Lennon Wall at National Taiwan University.
The purpose of the letter was to create awareness on the part of Chinese students studying in Taiwan, and avoid a situation where a student's ignorance of Taiwanese law could jeopardize their academic standing, Chu said.
As a legal basis, the MOE cited Article 11 of the Regulations Governing the Enrollment of People from the Mainland Area in Taiwanese Colleges and Above, which states that violations of Taiwanese law by Chinese students are punishable by cancellation of the offender's entry permit.
According to Article 18 of these regulations, not only legal violations, but also violations of school rules which lead to expulsion will result in the cancellation of a student's entry permit, Chu said.
Despite the letter's specific focus on Chinese students, Chu said that students caught violating school rules faced consequences equally and impartially, whether they come from Taiwan, Hong Kong, or China.
Since the start of the school year in September, the MOE has faced pressure over how to deal with conflicts at university Lennon Walls.
At the time, the ministry summoned 26 universities with large numbers of students from China and Hong Kong, and asked them to establish response teams to prevent potential conflicts, protect free speech, and create a space for rational dialoge on the issue, Chu said.
However, as the conflicts have escalated, the MOE has urged campus authorities to take an increasingly active approach, working not only at prevention, but also providing guidance and legal assistance to students following campus conflicts, Chu said.