Planet China

Play school

Guizhou has been caught up in a college hoo-ha in recent weeks after a new university campus hung up banners from elite institutions like Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard that congratulated it on its opening. Indeed no less than nine of the world’s top academic institutions were featured as welcoming the opening of Guizhou City Vocational College in mid-September. Photographs of the banners were soon being commented on by netizens doubtful that the foreign universities had any clue that they were endorsing this Chinese seat of learning. A reporter from Southern Metropolis Daily also found that the ‘new’ college was in fact a rebranding of Yatai Vocational College, which had been moved to a new ‘university city’ campus 200 metres from the front gate of the Guiyang Huaxi District Government. (As we pointed out in WiC245, such university cities are developmental zones used by local governments to boost real estate values.) The reporter also found a faculty member and asked him about the banners. He replied that he was “surprised” that the college that had got the attention of so many big-name universities but added that most of the student body laughed at the banners and didn’t take them too seriously.

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