A college in Shenyang, Liaoning Province is the latest institution accused of showing favoritism to foreigners, after some Chinese students complained on social media about being forced to clean dormitory buildings — including those housing international students — for the sake of earning special credits needed for graduation. That requirement doesn’t exist for foreign students.
On July 11, Weibo user @唐纳德, a student from Shenyang City University, posted this complaint on the social media platform. The since-deleted post attracted public attention, with many internet users slamming the school for treating Chinese students unfairly.
To verify the story, ThePaper.cn talked (in Chinese) to a student at the school, who said that it’s an annual tradition for juniors to participate in something called “labor week,” in which classes are suspended and students go around campus to perform custodial tasks, such as sweeping stairs, mopping elevators, and emptying bins.
Another student told the publication that for Chinese students, some credits essential to graduation — separate from academic credits — are attached to the activity, whereas the same rule doesn’t apply to foreign students. “Some of us who were tasked with cleaning the residential area of international students felt it was unfair,” the student said. “All students at school are supposed to be treated equally, but why are foreign students exempted from cleaning?”
When approached by The Paper, a spokesperson for the university said that public service is part of the school’s pedagogical agenda, and that dorm rooms are not included in the cleaning area. As for the accusation of giving foreign students preferential treatment, the person said that according to relevant regulations, international students are not required to engage in “labor work.”
The news is the latest in a string of recent incidents that has stirred online anger among those who believe that foreign students in China enjoy an array of privileges that locals do not. Last week, a tertiary institution in Jiangsu Province ignited uproar after students revealed that they were forced to give up their dorm rooms for international students. In the same week, news of the death of a Pakistani student, killed by a Chinese motorist in Nanjing, attracted a large number of internet trolls, which prompted Beijing News to publish a video commentary asking them to stop blaming the victim.