EDUCATION

Drool practice: Chinese college students practice military ‘training of the will’ within tantalising distance of their lunch

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 5:11pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 September, 2015, 5:48pm

It’s said an army marches on its stomach, but tell that to hungry college students undergoing compulsory military training in southern China.

Photos of students at Xiamen University, in Fujian province, receiving military training in the dining hall – with their tasty lunch within reach but off limits – have gone viral online, with some questioning whether the practice was too cruel, Thepaper.cn reported.

The students underwent their training late last month, which traditionally marks the start of college life. But the news report suggested the army instructors wanted to “hone the students’ will”.

The photos attracted plenty of comments, many of them sarcastic. Some speculating whether the training would also take place in internet cafes and nearby barbeque stalls that are popular with college students in China.

However, a university spokesperson told Thepaper.cn that the training took place inside the dining hall only because it was raining.

For decades, military training has been compulsory for Chinese high school pupils and university students to instil discipline, teamwork, physical fitness and patriotism.

But in recent years, some students and parents have started to question whether it was necessary following some incidents, including a brawl between high school students and military instructors in Hunan last year in which more than 40 students were injured.

The students in the photos eventually enjoyed their meal, after drill practice ended.