Heilongjiang college cracks down on student relationships

Society & Culture

A college in Heilongjiang Province is currently in hot water for threatening to expel students who live with or have sexual relationships with their partners.

In a leaked group chat screenshot published by The Paper on Wednesday, March 21, teachers at an initially unidentified school were ordered to gather for an urgent meeting because a student was found to be “making inappropriate contacts” with his peers by the school’s president, who asked for an investigation into the case.

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The school was later found to be Qiqihar Institute of Technology, and when approached by the newspaper, some students confirmed the school’s stance on in-school relationships. According to these students, the college claimed to not have a ban on students having boyfriends or girlfriends. But if they are caught having intimate interactions with their partners, such as holding hands, they will lose credits — which can be earned back through activities such as cleaning toilets — and face a hearing, and a notice of criticism will be circulated schoolwide.

“The hearings are normally organized by teachers and attended by the student in punishment, along with a group of students from the same department,” The Paper was told. “Holding hands is considered an act that exerts bad influence. There are students punished for this once in a while.”

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In another screenshot obtained by the newspaper, a student leader encourages colleagues to pay extra attention to romantic relationships at school. “Film what you see for evidence so we will have video and audio. The college will handle these cases seriously,” the student said in a group chat.

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According to the school’s discipline laws published on its website, students in relationships who cause adverse impacts on campus will receive punishments and warnings. Those who live with their boyfriends or girlfriends and have sexual relationships with their partners will be expelled as punishment.

As the college didn’t respond to interview requests from The Paper, its strict rules have attracted an intense backlash on the Chinese internet. “First-class universities focus on academics. Second-class schools pay attention to discipline. And third-class universities care about romantic relationships. It’s quite clear which class this college belongs to,” one internet user commented.