Sunday, February 19, 2012

No wonder no one dares to be

An Iranian student admitted to further his graduate study at National Tsing Hua University was denied his entry to Taiwan until Dr. Chen Li-chun, the president of Tsing Hua, agreed to act as his warrantor. This Iranian failed to have anyone guarantee him in Taiwan for reasons. As Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Cuba, and Sri Lanka were listed as “Category 5 Nations” by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), if their citizens want to study in Taiwan, they must first obtain visa of United Arab Emirates, then they must have find Taiwan citizen willing to be their warrantors before their visa to enter Taiwan is issued.

Why could this Iranian student not find warrantor here? Let’s see what this warrantor needs to do. First, he has to pay for the plane ticket if his warrantee is deported after serving times here for criminal activities. Secondly, he is obligatory to report any behaviors of his warrantee incompatible to the purpose stated in his visa application to MOFA and law enforcement authorities. Failing to do so is subject to bear related legal responsibilities. Last but not the least, he must be responsible to pay for any damage caused by the criminal activities of his warrantee, which is to say, if that Iranian blows up Taipei 101, the warrantor must pay for a new one with his own pocket. No wonder no teachers at Tsing Hua want to be warrantors.

It was understood that such rigid measures were meant to safeguard the internal security of Taiwan. The so called “Category 5 Nations” fit the American definition of “rogue countries”. However, I wonder if any young students from these countries need to obtain UAE visas before they are allowed to enter the U.S. to study? I wonder if my professors in Indiana University need to vouch legally for any students from Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan. I do not think that Taiwan will become safer if we treat students from Iran, Iraq, or Afghanistan as potential terrorists. I also doubt that such regulations for applying visas help local universities to become globalized or internationalized? I wonder how many foreigners presently doing time in local prisons are Americans? How many Iranians?

What Dr. Chen did was admirable. He is a real educator and practitioner of the idea of “teaching all comers without discrimination” unveiled by Confucius. For MOFA and other related government agencies, they need to think twice if giving visa applicants hard time helps Taiwan to blend into the international communities.

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