Tsai Ing-wen thesis sets off academic firestorm of controversy over “fake news” versus censored truth

Screenshot (232)
President Tsai Ing-wen and her controversial London School of Economics thesis, sealed with a restricted copyright sleeve. (credit: Voice of America/Hwan Lin)

Tsai Ing-wen, president of the Republic of China in-exile, once wrote a book that now she doesn’t want anybody to read. Tsai’s 1984 thesis for the London School of Economics entitled “Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions” is on restricted status at the LSE Library. Filed thirty-five years late, the thesis is at the center of debate about Tsai’s scholarship and honesty.

Somehow, Tsai was able to obtain a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics despite not having filed her thesis with the LSE Library, as did the 105 other graduate students in her class. Researchers, wanting to know Tsai’s views, looked in vain for the thesis until finally the missing document attracted media attention in June 2019. Tsai’s supporters blamed London libraries, scanning backlogs, and catalog mistakes. After it became clear Tsai did not submit her thesis as required she made a tardy submission by fax. Tsai also slapped a restricted access copyright limitation on the thesis preventing copying the document.

Professor Hwan Lin, a Taiwanese-American at Belk College in the United States, decided to do a little research himself and issued a fifty-page report on the history of the thesis, outlining a number of irregularities. Lin, who traveled to London and visited the LSE Library, found the faxed thesis to be a draft version with missing pages, page numbers that do not match the table of contents, and handwritten corrections.

In Taipei, Professor emeritus Ho De-fen of Taiwan National University picked up the quest for truth questioning the validity of Tsai’s doctorate. Tsai responded to the challenge almost immediately on her personal Facebook account and threatened Ho with legal action. Tsai called the questions about her thesis “fake news” and said Ho was “factually incorrect.”

In the midst of controversy over the thesis a mystery man has appeared, Michael Elliot. After Tsai faxed her copy of the thesis to the LSE Library in July the catalog entry was updated and listed Elliot as a co-author. That listing lasted about a week and then came down. Elliot, who now is deceased, was an instructor at the London School of Economics when Tsai was a graduate student. However, Elliot could not have been her faculty adviser as he lacked a Ph.D. If Elliot ghost-wrote the thesis, or co-authored, it will be difficult to determine what is his work and what contribution Tsai made to the paper. In the thesis Acknowledgments, which was retyped, Elliot is described as Tsai’s supervisor without further explanation.

Nothing has yet been made public about the identity of Tsai’s academic adviser, or the members of her oral exam panel. Tsai said in her Facebook statement, “In short, if I received my diploma, then I submitted my thesis.” Curiously, Tsai’s diploma is a modern re-issue, not the original award.

Tsai’s restriction on access of her thesis will keep critics from looking for plagiarism or other academic flaws but will do little to quiet the storm. This is not the first time Tsai has taken steps to silence public discussion about her thesis. Several years ago Tsai’s office reached out to a California internet discussion group that was chatting about the thesis. Allen Kuo, the chat editor of BATA, has confirmed that Tsai’s office asked through an intermediary to end the discussion topic. Kuo was told the matter was personal not political and he then complied with the request. Chagrined, Kuo is now calling for an investigation of the thesis authenticity.

This article has been corrected.  Tsai’s attempt to silence discussion on the BATA internet group was made during her initial campaign for president, not after she was elected.  Thank you to Allen Kuo for the correction.  

Author: richardsonreports

Author of FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two Story.

20 thoughts on “Tsai Ing-wen thesis sets off academic firestorm of controversy over “fake news” versus censored truth”

  1. How much buy a FAKE.Ph.D.diploma or certificate from LSE.UK?
    How to make a FAKE thesis for Ph.D. paper?
    Who check & review the Ph.D. Thesis documents?
    Is it any one professor sings it or comments on the paper?
    Comments with reject or comments with others item?
    If Tsai will be show out the Ph.D. Certificate and Thesis paper that’s fine.
    Who will be proof or indentify Tsai”s Ph.D.certificate and Thesis paper is true.
    Original Ph.D. Paper documents must a copy documents save in LSE right?
    Why LSE no more response it the FAKE.issue?
    Tsai have to say something or show the original documents.open it .
    Why LSE afraid of open the register paper ? inside paper ?

    Like

      1. As a faculty member with a phd degree in another univ, she didi not filled the requirements to get a ph d with 99.999999% chance

        Like

  2. For Taiwanese background or who can read Chinese, please look at the proofs and not following the misleading paid writers. Dissertation and published works@ ws.moe.edu.tw/Download.ashx?u=C099358C81D4876C725695F2070B467E8B81ED614D7AF43ED7A6191EA2591E5BA3C8FF8600F65CDC847604E575A7435E5ED284142D511EBE2795944025CA00406AE193B84520CD17D164D22797201D1B&n=F9FA136206BB59544FB8D3A44903BFF96489A89B70452FEA&icon=..pdf

    Like

    1. Notes:
      A photocopy of Ing-wen Tsai’s personal copy of the original thesis presented to the library in 2019

      NOT 1983 nor 1984????

      Like

    2. why the dissertation was present 15 years after she got her doctoral degree? Who was her supervisor ? How is the real status according to LSE’s official record of Tsai’ PhD ?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. why the dissertation was presented 15 years after she got her doctoral degree? Who was her supervisor ? How is the real status according to LSE’s official record of Tsai’ PhD ?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s