Row Over Taiwan Status at Harvard Model U.N.

Row Over Taiwan Status at Harvard Model U.N.

Following reports on the patriotism of Chinese students overseas and the often overlooked complexity of nationalist sentiment among young Chinese in general, J. Michael Cole describes a heated dispute over Taiwan’s status at last weekend’s Harvard Model United Nations. From Thinking Taiwan:

This is dispiriting for at least two reasons: It demonstrates that exposure to Western ideas and a liberal education is insufficient to bust the nationalistic doctrine that was drilled into young Chinese from a very young age; and it gives the whole body of Chinese students, many of whom are much more open minded on the Taiwan “question,” a bad reputation.

A full account of the incident from the perspective of one of the Chinese students is available (in Chinese) here. To make a long story short: During the first HMUN2015 meeting, which took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston on the evening of Jan. 29 , the head of the Chinese delegation discovered that the conference handbook contained the word Taiwan in its list of “international participants by country.” Immediately, the Chinese side requested that the “error” be corrected. Taiwan, they said, is not a country and it isn’t a UN member. As such, the handbook should be modified to read “country or region.” The Secretariat refused, however, and the dispute continued the next day, with the Chinese side accusing the organizers of having a “poor understanding” of international relations. The situation continued to deteriorate until the organizers asked security personnel at the hotel to remove some members of the Chinese delegation and threatened to call the police. “Your presence makes us uncomfortable,” they said. [Source]

China’s recent activities at the real U.N. have sparked quieter concern.


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