British court rules Freedom of Information lawsuit over Tsai Ing-wen thesis may advance and orders Information Commissioner to notify University of London

United Kingdom Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has been ordered by court to respond to Tsai Ing-wen thesis lawsuit involving the University of London (credit: Information Commissioner’s Office)

In an expected ruling, the Information Review Tribunal has ordered Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner of the United Kingdom, to respond to her decision protecting the identity of University of London thesis examiners. Denham has been given until March 16 by the court to explain why she is protecting the identity two thesis examiners who purportedly reviewed the 1984 London School of Economics thesis of Tsai Ing-wen.

Tsai Ing-wen, president of the Republic of China in-exile, triggered an academic firestorm when she submitted her PhD thesis to the London School of Economics Library in June 2019, thirty-five years late. The thesis, entitled “Unfair Trade Practices and Safeguard Actions,” was to have been submitted to complete Tsai’s degree process when she graduated. The tardy thesis finally submitted by Tsai appears to be a draft document, unbound with pagination problems, footnote issues, and handwritten entries including a question mark.

President Tsai, the London School of Economics where she studied, and the University of London which issued her diploma, all refuse to name the two professors who allegedly approved the thesis. Tsai has publicly bragged about the examiners claiming they were so impressed they wanted to give her an extra degree. Tsai won’t say why she is keeping the examiners’ identities secret. The two London schools say they cannot tell because that is Tsai’s private information.

The Freedom of Information request for the names of the thesis examiners has been working its way through the system since September 2019, when the London School of Economics said the University of London had the answers. The University of London says they know who the examiners are but can’t divulge the identities because of Tsai’s right to privacy.

The Information Commissioner’s Office upheld the University of London and the matter went to court. Resolution of the Freedom of Information request has been delayed by a territoriality issue limiting the court to United Kingdom citizens. The Information Review Tribunal has now ruled that anyone in the world may make information requests.

Denham was given twenty-eight days, until March 24, to respond to the lawsuit and ordered to inform the University of London of the pending case. If the University chooses to not intervene the school will not be allowed to make its own arguments to the court and will have to rely on Denham to defend its privacy decision.

Tsai’s thesis was briefly an issue in her reelection campaign but stonewalling by LSE and the University of London allowed the controversy over the thesis and claims of a fraudulent degree to die down. A future ruling by the court that the University must disclose the identity of the thesis examiners may well bring the issue back to life.

Author: richardsonreports

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

18 thoughts on “British court rules Freedom of Information lawsuit over Tsai Ing-wen thesis may advance and orders Information Commissioner to notify University of London”

  1. This is a tempest in a teapot. Who really cares whether Taiwan President Tsai Ying-wen submitted her thesis in 1984 or not? She was elected in 2016, so this has nothing to do with her ability to govern — which on the other hand has significant issues, particularly as to whether she can show leadership in asserting Taiwan’s sovereignty and independence from China.


    1. It may be a tempest in a teapot but actually a lot of people care whether or not Tsai legitimately earned her PhD degree. The issue goes well beyond whether or not she turned in a manuscript on time and strikes at a fundamental issue, honesty.


    2. Wait a minute, Linda. This case matters a lot.
      I believe you have seen what will happen when the public find out the President of the United States tells a lie.
      The result ends up requesting the President to step down as always.
      I agree it does not affect the ability for someone dishonest to govern a country. But if someone tells a lie especially in front of his/her people he/she will definitely have no right to govern a country whatsoever.
      The importance of this case is that we could not only sniff out those who are covering the truth but identify whether or not Tsai is a person with integrity which happens to be the minimum requirement for the politicians.
      And please please stop telling me it is acceptable to commit a crime just because he or she is busy at fighting a monster or doing something greater…
      I understand your point of view is the typical method used to turn the public opinion around in Taiwan.
      Well, you may fool the fool but cannot fool the smart.


    3. Linda, for someone who has a doctorate, I would think you would care a little more about the academic integrity of elected officials. It’s illegal to serve as a professor in Taiwan with a fake PhD degree. It’s illegal to run for any type of office with the Central Election Commission with a fake degree listed in your educational background. When Tsai ran in 2016, she had her educational background listed right there. It’s illegal to fake it. This will result in criminal charges. Justifying this kind of blatant academic fraud just because she’s DPP does not speak well for the honesty of the pan green movement which seems to value power over all else.


  2. Dear Mr. Richardson,
    What you have done for the freedom of information and of course Taiwan’s democracy can not be appreciated enough. The LSE and ICO are a disgrace for the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Personally, I am not 100% convinced that Tsai’s PHD degree is fake. But why it’s so hard to be transparent? Obtaining these information shouldn’t be like pulling teeth. Why the school and Ms. Tsai rather to have conspiracy theories going around than answering a few simple questions?

    Thanks for your efforts staying on this issue. It sure is interesting. Bests.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Be strong! Let’s remove “NOT” over there and say we are 100% convinced that Tsai’s PhD degree is fake. A normal PhD doctor will take less than one day to display his/her certificate as well as the precious thesis and case closed!

      On the other hand, a series of unreasonable actions were taken by Tsai such as the copy of the so-called thesis were submitted to the LSE “Woman” Library in 2019 which was classified as the “Book” format, all the related official documents for faculty promotion of Tsai at the Taiwan’s universities were classified as “Mi” level (equivalent to Top Secret in the U.S. government) until the end year of 2049, and yet no one hard copy of Tsai’s thesis can be found at the Senate House Library, the IALS, and the LSE Main Library.


  4. It is absolutely odd for any degree holder to have done so many cover-up things related to his or her degree thesis. It just makes most people who put honesty and integrity first before anything else very suspicious and would like to know what happened to Ms. Tsai in regard to her PhD obtained 37 years ago. It is not a political issue but simply an academic achievement issue related to the principles of honesty and integrity.


  5. I personally believe that justice should prevail in any area of the world. Any wrong doings shouldn’t have the way in a society of justice. That’s the reason why a simple thing like Ms. Tsai’s PhD thesis
    question should get an answer to the people who uphold the same belief in honesty and integrity.


  6. One can already smell the crime involved in the whole thing, fraud, bribery, and corruption. The abundance of evidence already points to the fact that Tsai’s 1984 thesis does not exist. Why University of London still wants to cover it up and hires a big law firm to handle it? The reason is obvious: there is crime involved. Period.


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