TAIPEI: An intensive summer language programme hosted by Harvard University in Beijing will relocate to Taiwan in summer of 2022, as the US-China relationship remains strained.
The programme is moving to Taipei and will kick off next summer with about 60 students who will take eight weeks of classes, National Taiwan University confirmed on Wednesday (Oct 13).
The decision was in part “due to a perceived lack of friendliness from the host institution” in Beijing, according to Harvard’s student paper the Crimson, which first reported the move.
Every summer, according to the Crimson, the programme “would typically host a small party to celebrate the Fourth of July, during which students and faculty would eat pizza and sing the national anthem”.
But in 2019, the host university, Beijing Language and Culture University, said it could no longer host the event, programme director Jennifer L Liu told the paper.
Liu also said logistical issues impacted the decision. She told the Crimson that “BLCU did not provide a single dorm for all the students, instead requiring the programme split the students into two different dorms of different quality, or to find a hotel that could keep their students together”.
Liu did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of business hours.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said he did not know the particular issue with the programme when asked about the move.
However, he said “China always welcomes international students to study in China, attaches great importance to protection of their legitimate rights and interests, and proactively responds to the students’ reasonable concerns and appeals”.
National Taiwan University said in a statement on Tuesday that the universities had been discussing the decision since 2019, and it was due to start in 2020 but was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: Channel News Asia