U.S. scholar criticizes LSE for labeling Taiwan as part of China

04/07/2019 12:54 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington, April 6 (CNA) June Teufel Dreyer, a professor of political science at the University of Miami, took issue with the decision by the London School of Economics (LSE) to alter the color of Taiwan on an outdoor sculpture implying it is a part of China, in a letter addressed to the school Saturday.

Dreyer said in the letter that Taiwan, aka the Republic of China, has never been a part of the People's Republic of China.

"It is a self-governing democracy the overwhelming majority of whose citizens are opposed to being forced into an autocratic corrupt regime whose international practices have recently aroused concerns within the European Union as well as ongoing concerns in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Japan," she further indicated.

Dreyer said that the decision to change the artist's work was made because of pressure from Chinese students, either acting on instructions from their government or from a desire to please it.

She stressed Taiwan or its students are not being treated by LSE with equal dignity and respect as others in the community.

"LSE presents itself as committed to creating an 'inclusive' environment 'for all' while ensuring that members of the community are treated with 'equal dignity and respect at all times.' Not those of a small, thriving democracy, or its students, apparently," Dreyer wrote.

She urged the school to reverse its decision.

"LSE's explanation mentions 'respectful exchanges of opinion.' How respectful, tolerant, and open is it when one group can force its opinions on the institution? This is profoundly disappointing. I urge you to reverse the decision," she wrote.

On March 26, LSE unveiled the new sculpture by the Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger tilted "The World Turned Upside Down," which is a large globe, with nation states and borders outlined, according to information on the LSE website.

In the globe set up on the school campus, Taiwan was initially labeled "REP. CHINA (Taiwan)" in pink color, while China was labeled "CHINA (People's Republic) in yellow color --which sparked a protest from Chinese students insisting Taiwan's designation of color match that of China.

The school called a meeting last Wednesday between them and their Taiwanese counterparts and decided to accept the Chinese students' proposal to change the globe's original design to make Taiwan the same color as China.

However, the labeling issue has stirred up protests from Taiwan's government, students and researchers, as well as from people abroad, who urged LSE not to accept the Chinese students' proposal.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao)


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