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Harvard University's Chinese language programme to shift from Beijing to Taiwan

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Harvard University's big decision

In a major move signifying the current US-China relations, Harvard University has decided to move its Chinese language programme from Beijing to Taipei.

The university said that the “hostile environment in China amid strained diplomatic relations between the world's two largest economies,” is the main reason for the decision, the Straits Times said.

Harvard Crimson student newspaper said that the Harvard Beijing Academy will leave Beijing Language and Culture University where it has been since 2005, the newspaper noted. “The academy will form a new partnership with National Taiwan University next summer,” it said.

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Taipei Times, in a report added that program director Jennifer Liu attributed the decision to a “perceived lack of friendliness” from the Chinese university, potentially due to shifting political winds.

However, the Taiwan based news organisation also noted that Harvard Center Shanghai chair William Kirby has maintained that the move was purely for logistical reasons and that Harvard has overall been forming closer connections with China.

A Delhi based college principal told India Narrative that this could just be the beginning. “As China is seen to be clamping down even on the students an entry for many of them has been denied, uncertainty among them is on the rise. Though China’s higher education system has attracted many foreign students in the last few years due to the fee structure and other incentives provided, the country may lose foreign students in the future,” the principal said.