Fujian students on best behaviour for inspectors
University students in Fujian province have been given a new assignment: watch for anyone on campus who might be an official - and treat them with the utmost respect.
With government inspectors expected to appear on campus at any time, treating them with respect is just one of the rules students must follow in order to pass muster and be deemed a 'school of good manners'.
For the past few weeks, students at many universities in Fujian have been banned from typical campus activities such as eating in public and wearing slippers in public.
Some students have even been warned not to express 'radical' views when asked about sensitive issues such as food safety. Instead they have been told to say they have faith in their university's handling of the matters, according to a report yesterday in China Youth Daily.
And departments of Wuyi University, Wuyishan, were reportedly given directives late last month on issues ranging from paperwork to campus upgrades to comply with a new provincial grading system.
Campaigns to improve manners and political correctness on campus are not unusual on the mainland, but the recent inspections in Fujian have been criticised as overkill.
Fuzhou University is under pressure after photos of stray dogs killed on its campus ahead of an inspection were circulated online, sparking an outcry by animal rights activists.
A spokeswoman for the university admitted yesterday that security guards had killed one or two stray dogs, but said most were captured and released in nearby fields.
She said the university had done nothing wrong and was merely following the guidelines for inspection, which are aimed at improving students' manners.
'You will hardly ever see a student offering a seat to a teacher on the bus or in the canteen here,' she said.
Improvements and repairs to the campus ahead of inspections were disruptive to students, but the university had no choice but to comply with the requirements, she said.