College student expelled after making negative remarks about Chinese patriotism

Society & Culture

A Chinese college in Hunan Province has expelled a first-year student who made remarks critical of patriotism on social media and in person on campus.

Wang Dong 王栋, an 18-year-old freshman student attending the civil engineering program at Hunan City University 湖南城市学院, found himself in trouble after internet users filed complaints about a series of since-deleted unpatriotic posts on his personal Weibo.

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According to screenshots released by Sina News, Wang, under the Weibo name “The most handsome man in Guizhou Mr. Wang 贵州省省草王英俊,” stated on September 12 that “College students in modern times should not be confined by patriotic education and collectivism.” In an earlier post, Wang commented that “I wouldn’t have learned Japanese if I were not a jingri.” (“Jingri” — 精日 jīngrì — is Chinese slang for “spiritually Japanese.”)

Some of his other remarks were also deemed politically offensive by Weibo authorities, including:

“It’s impossible for me to love my country. I’ll never be patriotic.”

“Who the f**k loves their country after attending college? You are a dumbass to me.”

Wang’s weibo has been cleared out. According to South China Morning Post, after drawing ire from Weibo, Wang changed his profile description from “This account is for criticizing China” to “Top 10 patriotic youth.”

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There are more screenshots of Wang’s now-deleted Weibo posts. In a post on September 12, Wang said, “I have a feeling — your country will drive me to crime.” It seems that he had a strong dislike of mandatory military training. He posted twice on Weibo on September 23, suggesting that military training has “no f*cking use” and is used to brainwash students.

After police launched an investigation, they contacted Wang’s school. School authorities say that since Wang entered college on September 9, he has made multiple insulting remarks about China, and has also mocked other students for expressing their patriotism.

On September 22, the college announced Wang would be expelled over his “extremely erroneous comments” and their “adverse impact” on society. The statement cited the school’s admission policy, which stipulates new students, within three months, need to pass a check on their political, moral, psychological, and physical health. Those who fail could face expulsion.

It’s not uncommon for Chinese universities to punish students for their online posts, especially when it comes to disrespectful comments about the country. In April, a PhD student at Xiamen University in Fujian Province was suspended after using the term Shina (支那) — a phonetic Japanese term for “China,” often considered derogatory — on social media and calling out the rude behavior of other fellow Chinese who attended an event with her. She was later kicked out of the school due to what the university called “academic misconduct” during her undergraduate studies at another university.

In August 2018, a German student studying journalism in Tsinghua University was expelled and had his visa cancelled due to his interviews with human rights lawyers in China. In 2017, University of Maryland student Yang Shuping was pressured by Chinese online users to make an apology for saying disparaging things about China in her commencement speech. Chinese state media had branded her a traitor.

Additional reporting by Jiayun Feng