LSE confirms Tsai’s doctoral degree in statement

Since 1902, LSE has been based at Clare Market and Houghton Street in Westminster. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)
Since 1902, LSE has been based at Clare Market and Houghton Street in Westminster. (Courtesy of Wikimedia)

TAIPEI (CNA) — The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on Tuesday issued a formal statement confirming the legitimacy of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) doctoral degree, following months of speculations on social media in Taiwan about her academic credentials.

“We can be clear the records of LSE and of the University of London — the degree awarding body at the time — confirm that Dr. Tsai was correctly awarded a Ph.D. in Law in 1984,” the statement read.

Tsai’s academic credentials have been the subject of discussion in the Taiwan media since former television political talk show host Peng Wen-cheng (彭文正) raised the issue in a Facebook post in June.

In late August, National Taiwan University law professor emeritus Ho De-fen (賀德芬) said it was “reasonable to suspect” that Tsai had not completed her dissertation or doctoral degree 35 years ago.

Ho cited a report by Hwan C. Lin (林環牆), an associate professor of economics at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, to support her argument.

In his report, Lin said that after a one-week investigation at the LSE, he had discovered that the doctoral dissertation credited to Tsai had been used in her thesis defense but there was no final version, which would have been required for her to obtain her degree.

However, the LSE said that Tsai’s thesis, titled “Unfair trade practices and safeguard actions,” was published in 1985 and can be found in the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) index document “Legal Research in the United Kingdom 1905-1984.”

“All degrees from that period were awarded via the University of London and the thesis would have been sent first to their Senate House Library,” the LSE said in its formal statement.

The records of LSE’s Senate House Library confirm that a copy of Tsai’s thesis was received and sent by them to the IALS, the school said.

Following the statement, President Tsai said in a Facebook post that she hoped the accusations and false claims about her academic credentials would now end.

Anyone in Taiwan interested in reading her doctoral thesis can download a digital version from the National Central Library website, Tsai said, adding that she also gave a copy to the LSE library in June and it is available to the public.

Tsai thanked the LSE for issuing the statement and apologized for the inconvenience caused by the fake rumors.

By Ku Chuan and Ko Lin