China vows to punish rule-breaking foreign students


Chinas education ministry says overseas students can expect severe punishment if they break the rules, after a spate of controversies involving foreigners studying at mainland universities.

An unnamed senior ministry official said rules for overseas students should be broadly the same as for local Chinese students and that universities should seriously punish" foreign students if they violate them.

The official said the education ministry had taken a firm public stance in response to heated online discussion in China over a string of incidents involving overseas students.

Shandong University apologized a week ago after massive online criticism for its buddy program, which matched each of its foreign students with several local students of the opposite sex.

Earlier this month, an Egyptian studying at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in southeast China was captured on video tussling with a police officer who had stopped him for violating traffic rules.

The university, based in the provincial capital of Fuzhou, later described the students behavior as vicious and said on its website it would put him under observation as punishment.

The Peoples Daily article also addressed a widespread perception in China that international students receive preferential treatment in addition to the general scholarships and grants they receive with better dorms, classrooms and food.

The education ministry urged mainland universities last year to treat the two groups more equally. The ultimate goal was to adopt the same standard of teaching and testing for both groups.

The ministry said all students should receive identical learning resources and management services, according to the article, and that it was up to universities to educate their foreign students on Chinese laws and school regulations, and to seriously punish those who breach them.

Students from nine countries dressed in Hanfu, traditional Han Chinese clothing, in a ceremony in 2015. 

Education ministry statistics show that 492,000 international students from 196 countries and regions studied at about 1,000 mainland universities and institutions last year.

Among them, more than 63,000 students, or 12.8%, were fully sponsored by the Chinese government, with 70% of those pursuing postgraduate degrees in China.

The country had become the most popular destination for foreign students in Asia, the ministry said.

In 2017, the top five countries providing international students to China were South Korea, Thailand, Pakistan, the US and India.

Source: https://www.inkstonenews.com

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