President Tsai Ing-wen of the Republic of China in-exile wrote a thesis thirty-five years ago entitled Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions for the London School of Economics and Political Science. Somehow the thesis is missing from the three libraries that it belongs in but was on the shelf, Tsai supporters maintained, at the British Library. Not so says Lee Taylor of the Social Sciences Reference Service department, “No print copy of this thesis is available.”
The British Library was cited to silence criticism of Tsai in June when the missing thesis became a topic of public discussion. The thesis was listed in the library catalog as in the Available Lending Collection and shelf DRT 652034 was purported to be its location.
In response to an inquiry Taylor said, “The item to which you refer is a thesis which has not yet been digitized. You can contact the library of the awarding body, in this case London School of Economics, for access to the thesis.”
The LSE Library has already announced it does not have the missing manuscript, nor does the Senate House Library, or the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, all of which were required repositories. A catalog entry at the British Library was used to silence critics in June. However, when asked if the British Library possessed a copy to digitize the supposed shelf copy was not to be found.
Although Taylor once suggested a donation to the library could get the thesis digitized he now says the library cannot help. “The British Library does not have a printed copy of this….It is not part of our lending collection.”
What little is known about the thesis comes from Tsai’s official ROC biography. The LSE Library does not even have an abstract of the thesis. Tsai cites the thesis as part of her qualification for the presidency. The thesis “discusses the extent to which protection mechanisms can be constructed in a rapidly changing global market system.”
It is becoming apparent that if Tsai’s thesis is to be read, it must be her that provides it, as no one else has a copy. It is not clear whether Tsai’s thesis was removed from the libraries or never filed with them in the first place. If Tsai’s LSE thesis is anything like Ma Ying jeou’s error-filled Harvard thesis she will not be quick to release it to the public.