By Michael Evans
A college in Guangdong has gained widespread attention with new regulations comparing sexually active students to prostitutes, threatening couples with expulsion or worse.
The Huashang College of the Guangdong University of Business Studies announced December 27 that students were forbidden from “all commercial activity” in the village across the street from the campus’s main gate, including eating at restaurants and renting hotel rooms.
“All restaurants outside of the dining hall are using gutter oil,” read a handwritten notice displayed on campus, according to a photo posted online. “All unmarried male-female relationships are illegal prostitution.”
The notice also mentioned that police surveillance cameras had already caught several couples engaging in “illegal cohabitation.” It warned students that anyone caught breaking the rules would be subject to disqualification from awards and scholarships, and even expulsion or “more severe penalties.”
“If you want to eat, go to the dining hall. If you want to love, get married,” the notice continued.
A student uploaded the photo on Weibo the same day the notice was posted, along with a second image of a “student safety education pledge” with similar content that each student was allegedly required to sign.
School officials have played down the severity of the new rules, with one administrator telling Guangzhou’s Yangcheng Evening News that the “safety pledge” is not binding, but rather a form of advice.
Students also don’t seem to be taking the outrageous language too seriously. “It’s just a signature, no reason to worry,” one freshman told the newspaper. “Go across the street as usual, just don’t tell anyone you’re from Huashang College and you’ll be fine.”
Strict attitudes towards sexually active students are nothing new in China, and expulsion for engaging in premarital sex is not unheard of. But many universities have recently begun to adopt a more liberal attitudes and adjust to rising rates of student sexual activity.
Last October, Chongqing University installed free condom machines across campus, while last month a college instructor in Guangxi made headlines and earned widespread praise for handing out condoms to his students as a Christmas present.