Harvard University will move its Chinese-language summer programme from Beijing to Taipei next year, as it is transformed from the Harvard Beijing Academy hosted by the Beijing Language and Culture University, to the Harvard Taipei Academy under the National Taiwan University.

“The planned move of this program from Beijing to Taiwan has been considered for some time and reflects a wide array of operational factors,” Associate Director of Communications Harry Pierre told HKFP in an email statement on Wednesday.

National Taiwan University Library. Photo: Wikicommons.

“The program’s new location presents a different opportunity for our instructors and learners to broaden their educational experiences. We look forward to continuing to build what has become an excellent program for students.”

The new eight-week programme will foster Mandarin language-learning as well as cultural activities around Taiwan.

Programme Director Jennifer Liu had earlier told university newspaper The Harvard Crimson that the move was made over “a perceived lack of friendliness from the host institution,” citing difficulties with lodging and a ban on celebrating the US national holiday on July 4.

A person, along with two kids, walking by Taiwan flag installation ahead of National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, 06 October, 2021. Photo: Walid Berrazeg/HKFP.

Another member of staff, William Kirby at the Harvard Centre in Shanghai, told the student paper that the move was purely made for logistical reasons amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the university was committed to deepening its ties with Beijing.

The move comes amid growing tensions between Beijing and Washington over the the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.