Taiwan universities' admission of mainland Chinese students hits record high

BEIJING - Taiwanese universities have accepted a record number of more than 2,600 students from mainland China this year, authorities reveal as cross-strait ties warm further under a recent visit by the mainland's first top official to Taiwan.

Citing the education department of Taiwan, the Xinhua news agency reported that 1,804 out of a total of 4,512 applications put in by Chinese students for undergraduate programmes were approved this year. This translates to an increase of 66 per cent year on year.

There will also be 849 people pursuing master's and doctoral degrees, the report added.

Statistics show that business, foreign language and design courses are the most popular majors; and Ming Chuan University, Tamkang University and Chinese Culture University are among the institutions enrolling the most students.

This is a far cry from the 975 students enrolled in 2011 when Taiwanese universities first launched a recruitment drive in mainland China.

Chein Tai, director of Taiwan's University Entrance Committee for Mainland Chinese Students, said the jump in enrollment figure this year is due to the opening up of public-funded universities to mainland students.

On June 25, Zhang Zhijun, director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, arrived in Taiwan on a charm offensive in his first visit to the island and met his counterpart Wang Yu-chi, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council chairman, for talks.

While China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its control, relations have improved markedly since China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008.

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