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China: Around The Nation

Chinese professor in hot water for describing how women students are screened by their appearance

University suspended Qiao Mu in 2014 for unspecified ‘work violations’ but has allowed him keep his title and work as a librarian

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 January, 2017, 7:38pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 January, 2017, 7:38pm

A Chinese university is investigating complaints that one its professors blogged in lurid detail how male professors screened women students who hoped to take their courses according to their appearance.

Qiao Mu, an outspoken journalism professor at the Beijing Foreign Studies University who was famously sidelined for his advocacy for free speech, has again attracted controversy after writing on his Weibo account on Friday that many male professors judged women interviewees based on their appearance.

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In his article, Qiao wrote somewhat graphically of a personal experience interviewing an attractive candidate in revearling clothing, finishing his comments with “I wondered who was really put to the test here. After all, interviewers are people too. ”

He also said that in screening female interviewees, male professors often checked out “their breasts first, their faces second, their backsides third and their legs last”.

The article caused a stir online, leading many internet users to question the integrity of the admissions office at the university. While some internet users appreciated Qiao’s candour, others condemned him for his sexist comments.

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Qiao later rebuked criticism of him by saying on Weibo that reports of his article were “largely taken out of context”.

He said his article aimed at “revealing the truth” at his university, which is particularly popular with women students. He added that he himself did not condone the comments, but added that he felt

the university and media had conspired to suppress him.

The admission office said it did not judge applicants based on their appearance or gender.

The university’s media department said Qiao had been suspended from a teaching position since 2014 for “violating discipline at work”.

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But Qiao said in his article that he has been interviewing student applicants since his suspension while also maintaining his title of associate professor at the university.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper interviewed Qiao in 2015, saying he had worked as a librarian at the university since his suspension. Qiao told the Guardian that he believed his suspension was punishment for his support of multi-party democracy and freedom of speech.

Qiao decline to be interviewed by the Post.