Foreign students in China ‘to face same punishment if they break rules’

Foreign students in China ‘to face same punishment if they break rules’

The Chinese education ministry has warned foreign students in China that they will face the brunt of the law if they break rules.

The Chinese government mouthpiece People’s Daily reported last week that an unnamed official of the Education ministry said that foreign students studying in China should face the same rules as the locals following controversies involving foreigners.

“[Universities] should seriously punish foreign students if they violate those rules,” the official was quoted as saying.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian student of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in southeast China was seen on a video footage in a spat with a police officer after he was stopped for violating traffic rules by taking a woman passenger on his electric bike.

The university later described the student’s behaviour as “vicious,” adding that it would take him under observation.

The People’s Daily also cited a widespread perception in China that foreign students were given preferential treatment – in addition to the general scholarships and grants they receive – with different standards of dormitories, classrooms, canteen conditions, test papers, as compared with the mainland Chinese.

Same treatment urged for domestic or foreign students in China

Last year, the Education ministry came up with a circular, urging mainland universities to adopt the same standards for Chinese and foreign students in China in terms of teaching, management and services provided.

The circular also said all students should receive equal and identical learning resources and management services, handed over the task to educate foreign students on Chinese laws and school regulations to universities, and to “seriously punish those who breach them”.

Likewise, the official said that educational institutions needed to take into account the differences between foreign and domestic students in terms of language, culture, folk customs and habits, and support foreigners in better understanding Chinese culture so they could integrate quickly into the institution and Chinese society.

“With regard to teaching, an effective teaching aid system should be established to provide help to foreign students while, with regard to management and services, schools should organise and guide foreign students to attend healthy extracurricular activities to boost cultural communication and understanding between domestic and foreign students,” the official said.

Photo: Lin Zhizhao

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