Petition urges LSE to reverse decision that disparaged Taiwan

04/09/2019 02:50 PM
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London, April 9 (CNA) Taiwanese students have submitted a petition with over 10,000 signatures to the London School of Economics (LSE) urging the school to maintain a sculpture's original appearance showing Taiwan and China as separate entities.

On the sculpted globe, Taiwan was identified as "Rep. China (Taiwan)" using a color different than that used for China, and Taipei was shown as its capital, Formosa salon, a Facebook group with about 2,000 members, said in the petition.

"Regrettably, under the pressure of some Chinese students, LSE requested the artist of the sculpture to remove the name "Rep. China (Taiwan)" and to present Taiwan as if it were a part of the People's Republic of China," the petition said.

(Image taken from Formosa Salon's Facebook page)

The group urged the LSE to withdraw its decision, saying the school has ignored the fundamental fact that Taiwan and China are two distinct countries, with separate executive, legislative, judicial, economic, social and cultural systems.

Formosa salon also called on supporters of freedom, democracy and human rights to carefully consider their stance on China's aggressive moves in recent years, arguing that nobody, including the LSE, should become accomplices of China without pricking their conscience.

According to the group, a total of 14,000 people signed the petition that was initiated on April 4. Among them, 1,550 people currently live or have worked, studied or lived in the U.K.

After the LSE unveiled the new sculpture on March 26, Chinese students at the school lodged a protest over how it displayed Taiwan and China.

("The World Turned Upside Down")

Following a meeting on April 3 between Chinese students and their Taiwanese counterparts organized by school authorities, the LSE decided to accept the Chinese students' proposal to change the globe's design by making Taiwan the same color as China.

According to Huang Li-an (黃立安), a Taiwanese student at the LSE, Taiwanese student representatives were only invited to the meeting after submitting a petition calling on the school to grant them access.

At the meeting, attended by LSE director Dame Minouche Shafik, Huang said he pointed out the presence of the word "Republic of China, Taiwan" on the cover of his passport as being the same title shown on the sculpture.

The Chinese students insisted at the meeting, however, that Taiwan is part of China, saying they did not deny that Taiwan is democratically run but rejected the idea that Taiwan enjoys sovereignty, Huang said.

He said although he expressed his opinions in the meeting, the school defended its decision by arguing that the United Nations defines Taiwan as being a part of China.

"At first, I thought that the school would be neutral during the discussion, but I later felt that the school actually had made a decision already. The main reason LSE convened the meeting was to tell us what the school would do," Huang said.

Despite confirming after the meeting that it would ask that the sculpture be changed, the LSE told CNA on April 5 that it had not made any final decision on the matter, and the sculpture remains in its original form.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Chung Yu-chen)


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