A Ph.D. candidate at the University of Salamanca recently published an article on her blog alleging that the Spanish university canceled events celebrating “Taiwan Cultural Days” last fall after receiving an email from the Chinese embassy objecting to the events. Under the “one-China” policy, Beijing considers Taiwan to be a rightful part of China.
Shiany Pérez-Cheng, who was an organizer of last fall’s “Taiwan Days” events and at the time was lecturing in the Taiwan studies program, said on her blog that Salamanca administrators received an email on Oct. 23 from Chinese embassy officials in which they demanded that the university “adhere to the one-China principle.”
“University of Salamanca is one of the most historic public in Spain, and enjoys a great international reputation,” the email said (in translation from Spanish). “Due to the great importance given by the Chinese government to the relationship with this university, we have included it in the recommended directory of the Ministry of Education of China, many visiting Chinese researchers carry out exchanges at the University of Salamanca and many Chinese students study there. We do not want your institution to be used by the Taiwanese authorities in order to make it the stage for political propaganda, and therefore to affect the good cooperative relations with China.”
Pérez-Cheng said the dean’s office forwarded the email to the Taiwan studies area within the East Asian studies department -- which is how she got a copy of it -- and called a meeting that same day. "When we got to the College of Social Science the mood was rather somber, they were really scared (the 'Oh my God, we have angered China, Beijing´s going to retaliate' kind of scared)," she said via email.
An Oct. 24 email from the social science dean canceling the event, also quoted in Pérez-Cheng’s blog, cites as the reason “circumstances not related to the School of Social Sciences.”
Salamanca officials and the Chinese embassy in Spain did not respond to requests for comment. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs weighed in on the incident here.