Dutch news sources say that tens of thousands of foreign students in China are being told to go home. Supposedly, instructions have been handed down to Universities that they are not allowed in China during August and September – even if a student continues their studies next semester they have to leave.
Yeah, it was all over the German news yesterday too, that all foreign students have to leave China for the Olympics! It was spread by DPA, the German Press Agency. Today there seems to be a lot of confusion, since none of the students in China could confirm this so far!
As it turns out, some of our friends studying Chinese at various universities about town are now sh*tting in their pants as they were hoping to stay on in Shanghai a bit longer. Here’s a report we found on EPA via Monsters and Critics:
China plans to order all foreign students to leave the country before the Olympic Games in August, strictly regulate the issuing of business and tourist visas, and deport refugees, sources said on Thursday.
‘Even if you have to continue your studies in September, you need to leave Beijing in July and August,’ a spokeswoman for Beijing University told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The spokeswoman said the two-month gap applies to all universities in Beijing and was ordered by ‘higher authorities’ because of the Olympics.
One Western education official estimated that at least 10,000 students would be affected by the order.
The official China Daily said about 190,000 foreign students from 188 nations attended courses in China last year.
A new story we found on Spiegel, however, may offer some relief to the jittery students:
Doch die Meldung wurde rasch nach der Veröffentlichung dementiert: Das chinesische Außenministerium konnte entsprechende Regeln für den Verbleib ausländischer Studenten während der Olympischen Spiele nicht bestätigen. “Ich habe nichts in dieser Hinsicht gehört”, sagte ein Sprecher des Ministeriums der dpa. Es stehe fest, dass “die Ausbildung der ausländischen Studenten in China gesichert” sei.
The report has been quickly denied soon after it was published. The Chinese Foreign Ministry was unable to confirm regulations for the continued stay of foreign students during the Olympic Games. “I have heard nothing in this respect,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson to the DPA. It is however certain that the “education of foreign students in China is to be secured”.
Auch das Auswärtige Amt in Berlin hatte mit Zurückhaltung auf den Bericht reagiert, dem zufolge ausländische Studenten China während der Olympischen Spiele verlassen müssen. Es seien “keine entsprechenden Hinweise bekannt”, sagte Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD).
Berlin’s Foreign Affairs Office also met with restraint in response to the report that foreign students must leave China during the Olympics. “No such indications” have been made known yet, said Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD).[Translation by Shanghaiist]
Shanghaiist thinks that the problems foreign students will face will come mostly as a result of tightening visa regulations, not some state-sponsored drive to kick foreign students out, as that would leave quite a number of universities bankrupt.
UPDATE: The Ministry of Education responds to the German reports (h/t to reader hotshotdebut):
Overseas media reports that foreign students in China would have to leave the country during the August Olympic Games were “totally fabricated”, the Ministry of Education said here Friday.
“Recently, some foreign media say China requires foreign students to leave during the Games. It completely goes against the facts,” ministry spokesman Wang Xuming said.
Relevant departments and universities “have never asked foreign students to leave China during the Olympics and Paralympics. During that time, foreign students could stay and some of them would join volunteer services”.
He added international cooperation and exchanges in the educational field would proceed as usual, including accepting foreign students who would come to study in China.
If you are a foreign student in China and have something to say to us, write us at info AT shanghaiist DOT com.
Photo from Carsten Ullrich.