By Michael Evans
Outstanding students at a Gansu university were rewarded with Armani handbags stamped with the school’s emblem, according to photos posted online. The luxury gifts have raised many eyebrows , leading university officials to admit that the bags are in fact cheap knockoffs.
A student at the Lanzhou University of Technology first grabbed netizens’ attention by posting photos of one of the bags on his Sina Weibo on December 29. The caption read: “Good students this year are given one Armani satchel. The price tag is not 9.8 yuan (US$1.57), it is not 98 yuan either (US$15.70). I shall work harder in the coming year,” according to the Want China Times.
Among the photos was one of a still-attached price tag, showing the bag to have cost 1,208 yuan (US$205).
The Chongqing Morning Post found mixed reactions among students. Some expressed similar admiration as the online poster, saying that the prospect of winning such a high-class award would encourage them to work harder in the future.
Others criticized the school’s choice of gifts, saying that the handbags were an inappropriate luxury that could lead students to become more materialistic and fashion-conscious.
School administrator Zhu Mingmin defended the school’s actions, telling the Chongqing Morning Post on Monday that the choice of handbags as a gift to outstanding students was made not by the school, but by a vote among the students themselves.
Furthermore, Zhu explained that the bags were almost certainly not genuine, but were bought online from a company in Zhejiang for 95 yuan each – a mere fraction of the 1,208 yuan on the price tag.