Taiwan: A Problem with the Degree of the President?

The world of blogs is excited (at least the ones posting about Taiwan): according several sources, the PhD thesis of the President of Taiwan contained more than 1,000 mistakes…

In the international media, the President is often mentioned as a lawyer, even though he did not pass the bar exam in Taiwan and nothing seems to prove he passed it in US.

But at least and that is for sure, he has a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School, obtained in 1981.

Now, his thesis is under fire…

Even the today Taipei Times published an article about it: “Ma’s thesis contained more than 1,000 mistakes“.

A little bit curious about it, I tried to check the source(s) and it seems that all started with a US news Website: Examiner which published 3 articles (as far as I know): one, two and three.

According the story, a retired teacher looked up Ma’s Harvard Law School doctoral thesis and used a lot of his (her?) red pen as you could see here:


Some bloggers (as this retired teacher) consider that not only the thesis has a lot of errors (including academic ones) but maybe plagiarism is involved…

I don’t know.

But I don’t believe that Harvard University is a member of the “US diploma factory” (you know, you just pay the fees and you get your degree).

Anyway, if you follow the above links, I don’t think you can really find conclusive remarks concerning the academic value of this thesis.

And by the way, who is this retired teacher?

There are enough strong documented facts people could talk about, concerning the actual government and the president of Taiwan.

So for me, it is one more example of “empty news” we can read every day… Until we have more to report on…


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4 Responses

  1. U.S. Ivy-league schools have reputations for “legacy students” and “gentleman’s C’s”. I do not know how accurate these reputations are.

  2. “it is one more example of “empty news” ”
    is this when people say: “no news is good news”?
    personally don’t think so
    i would say another example of lazy journalist and press

  3. @ Chaon
    You made a very good point.
    From the official stories about “legacy students”, up to 50% (as far as I know) enjoy an advantage during the “entrance” step (in US).Their grades are quite low during the first year (at least) but it seems that they are roughly able to fill in the gap before they are graduated (according published statistics – from different sources even though they don’t often belong to the top students). So it’s not supposed to explain the case… (especially we are talking about a PhD case).
    But may be the second part of your comment… What I heard is that the “gentleman C” is becoming a “gentleman’ B”… Since a while already…
    I do believe that it could apply here.. But still…
    My point is that using this way to talk about the “chief of the region” is useless, at least if we consider the academic point of view. And obviously, it’s not the case with this “teacher”.
    Typo blah blah blah
    We don’t know who is this “teacher” and according the 3 articles, nothing could lead us to an”easy” degree obtained by the “chief”.
    I feel that he/she (they?) is using the same way to defame someone… I do believe you know what I mean…
    So stupid way…
    Not even able to mention a critical point…
    And if you read all the articles, he/she (the retired teacher) is working since more than a year…
    Obviously if it’s true, he/she (they?) is not qualified to judge a PhD thesis. We are supposed to give a comment within 1 or 2 months…
    And one more time, nothing to let us believe something is wrong…
    So… it’s a “no-news”, just the way the “blue” used to…
    Very bad example to follow…
    As you know, stupid people are on both side…(including me?)

  4. @ Jo
    yes, you are right… But so many media here, they have to talk about something and obviously here, people are listening…
    So sad, but that’s a fact…
    Especially they don’t react…

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