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Taiwan Students Swarm to Mainland
First, it was Taiwan businessmen who were attracted by the enormous business opportunities on the mainland.

Now, students are following in their footsteps - not for money but to learn about the thriving society.

The Taiwan authorities do not recognize diplomas issued by mainland universities but this has not deterred the students pursuing either advanced degrees or attending short courses.

It is reported that the number of students seeking master's degrees on the mainland tripled to 1,300 this year. So far, more than 10,000 people have already studied at mainland universities.

In addition, more and more students are embarking on various mainland study tours during summer or winter vacations to get a first-hand feel.

The study tours range from seminars on movies and aviation, research on traditional Chinese medicine, camps in renowned universities to wushu training, according to the BBC's Chinese website.

Some astute private organizations have jumped on the bandwagon and set up counseling services to help people study on the mainland.

At a recent education exhibition in Taiwan attended by major local and foreign universities, a private organization enrolled students on behalf of mainland-based Suzhou University.

To clear the hurdle set by "Taiwan's education authority", the private organization claimed that the diplomas would be jointly awarded by Suzhou University and a Canada-based university, but students would study on the mainland.

Studying on the mainland can enhance understanding of the people there and increase working opportunities, the private organization said.

Wang Yufen, 33, who was just been admitted by Peking University, agreed. Wang, who will pursue her master's degree on Chinese literature, was deeply attracted by the learning atmosphere and history of the prestigious university when she visited it as a reporter in 2000.

She does not worry that her diploma would not be accepted in Taiwan.

"After all, it is an irreversible trend and I am confident my mainland education background will be useful in the future," she said.

(China Daily HK Edition August 10, 2002)

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