harvard: Amid the cold between the US and China, Harvard shifts course to Taiwan – Community News
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harvard: Amid the cold between the US and China, Harvard shifts course to Taiwan

TAIPEI: Harvard University will move a popular Chinese-language program from Beijing to Taipei amid a wide-spread chill in academic and cultural exchanges between the US and China. The program’s director, Jennifer Liu, told Harvard Crimson that the move was prompted by an alleged lack of friendliness on the part of its host Chinese institution, Beijing Language and Culture University. Harry Pierre, a Harvard spokesman, said: “The planned relocation of this program from Beijing to Taiwan has been under consideration for some time and reflects a wide range of operational factors.”
Harvard, like many American universities, has a number of programs in China, including courses for executives and a training program led by its medical school for Chinese doctors and hospital leaders. The summer language program — known as the Harvard Beijing Academy — allowed students not only to immerse themselves in advanced language studies, but also to travel around China and learn about its history and culture.
But Professor Liu said the program was having trouble accessing the classrooms and dormitories needed by Beijing Language and Culture University, according to an account she provided to Harvard Crimson, a student newspaper. She also said that in 2019 the Chinese university told the program it could no longer hold an annual gathering to celebrate the Fourth of July, where students and teachers typically ate pizza and sang the US national anthem. While China has put in place severe pandemic restrictions, rapidly shutting down provinces as coronavirus cases have increased, Professor Liu said she believed the unwelcome environment was linked to a shift in the Chinese government’s attitude toward US institutions. .
An employee of Beijing Language and Culture University, reached by phone on Tuesday, declined to comment. Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, spoke about Harvard’s move during a routine news briefing on Wednesday. “China has always welcomed foreign students. We oppose any attempt to politicize people-to-people exchanges.”
The Harvard program began in 2005 and initially cost $4,500. According to the Beijing Language and Culture University website, more than 1,000 students had participated in 2015. The program was canceled in 2020 and this year due to the pandemic. It is now slated to begin next summer under the name of Harvard Taipei Academy at National Taiwan University in Taipei.
The move comes as US-China ties have reached their lowest point in decades. A spokeswoman for Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it “believes that the democratic and liberal system and pluralistic society will enable American students to better understand Taiwan.”