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Chinese instructors removed from Harvard event for ‘Taiwan as country’ complaint

By Hu Qingyun (Global Times)    09:57, February 10, 2015

Some members of a Chinese student delegation to the Harvard Model United Nations (HMUN) in Boston have allegedly been expelled from the event due to "safety concerns" after they protested listing Taiwan as a "country" in the conference handbook.

Some Chinese delegation members complained to the event organizer after seeing Taiwan listed as a "participant country" in the handbook since the event began on January 29, Deng Bingyu, a student from Xi'an-based Northwest Polytechnical University in Shaanxi Province, posted on her account in renren.com, a popular social network for university students, on February 2.

In the absence of an apology and "acceptable explanation" from the organizer, a Chinese teacher from an international school walked out on January 30 while the rest of the Chinese delegation issued a letter requesting the organizer to reprint the handbook and change the catalogue to "countries and regions," Deng said.

Deng explained that to regard Taiwan as a "country" infringes on China's sovereignty and offends Chinese delegates.

Three instructors, including Deng, were expelled from the meeting and Deng claimed that the organizers considered them a "security threat."

Deng said HMUN Secretary-General Ruth Kagan sent an e-mail to instructors on January 31 that "the inclusion of Taiwan is not meant as a political statement by the conference, nor does that listing represent the views of the Harvard International Relations Council." However, due to copyright issues, the handbook cannot be reproduced, Kagan said.

On February 1, the organizers sent another e-mail to instructors, saying that they can place stickers saying "by Country and Region" on the handbooks.

As of press time, the HMUN did not reply to interview requests from the Global Times.

A student, surnamed Zhang, who attended the event in 2012, told the Global Times that the HMUN did not list "Taiwan" as a country in that event. "The organizer needs to apologize to Chinese participants."

However, some students who have participated in similar Model United Nations events told the Global Times that other event organizers sometimes also regarded Taiwan, or even Hong Kong, as "countries."    

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Gao Yinan)

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