The election commission of Taiwan’s Tamkang University has suspended student union elections in the campus, citing loopholes in the election rules, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.
The election, originally scheduled to be held later this month, sparked a controversy after the nationalities of candidates were listed on election materials for the first time in the university’s history.
Clove Tsai, a Chinese national who is running in the election, said the move was intended to label her as a mainland agent and thus influence the outcome of the poll.
Meanwhile, media reports suggested that allowing those from mainland China to become student union leaders will pave the way for Beijing to influence the island’s tertiary education sector and the broader community.
Tsai has been active in various social activities, including the Sunflower Student Movement, which led the protests against the cross-strait service trade pact.
Wang Dan, a student leader during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, said students’ rights should not be affected by their political beliefs.
Sunflower Student Movement leader Chen Wei Ting has also thrown his support behind Tsai, noting that she has actively participated in Taiwan’s public affairs.
Some netizens assailed the authorities for halting the election just because they do not want a mainland student to be elected, while others insist that mainlanders should not be granted the right to vote in Taiwan.
Tsai and her team have launched a signature campaign to push for the holding of the student union elections.
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