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Chinese university bans students from holding hands, spoon-feeding

Any student in a romantic relationship at Jilin Construction University is to have a private conversation with an assistant teacher, who is to tell them not to have physical contact with his or her partner.

By
Elizabeth Shim
A girl eats cotton candy at a popular tourist area in Beijing. A university in northeastern China has banned students from displays of amorous affection on campus, prompting student ridicule at a time when schools are taking a more interfering role in the personal lives of students. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
A girl eats cotton candy at a popular tourist area in Beijing. A university in northeastern China has banned students from displays of amorous affection on campus, prompting student ridicule at a time when schools are taking a more interfering role in the personal lives of students. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

BEIJING, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Administrators at a university in northeastern China are taking heat after they issued a rule banning students from holding hands or romantically feeding each other in the school cafeteria.

Jilin Construction University in Changsha was the target of ridicule after introducing rules designed to eradicate "uncivilized behavior" among students, The Independent reported.

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The list of unacceptable behavior includes amorous holding of hands and wrapping of arms around a partner. Loving gestures of spoon-feeding also are not allowed, according to the new rules, and surveillance equipment was installed in order to prevent the banned behavior.

"We have cameras covering the cafeteria to ensure safety. I'm pleased as it's necessary to prevent uncivilized behavior," said one cafeteria worker.

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That rule, however, has been mocked. Students have described the move as "weird."

"[We] can't help laughing. It's the 21st century. As adults, we don't dare to behave so explicitly in public places. I never see lovers feed each other rice, so the norm is unnecessary," one student said.

Teachers, however, defended the rule because "improper behavior like kissing and hugging in public places such as the subway, have been [widely] revealed by the media," according to one unnamed teacher quoted in China's New Culture View newspaper.

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Any student in a romantic relationship is to have a private conversation with an assistant teacher, who is to tell them "not to have physical contact or engage in improper behavior on campus."

Not all are condemning the rules. One Chinese social media user said the rule is a "gift from the university to single students" ahead of "Single's Day" a commercialized holiday in China that provides shopping deals for China's uncommitted singles.

But the trend of overprotective or interfering measures over students' personal choice could be on the rise.

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The BBC reported on Monday a college in the northwestern city of Xian recently required female but not male students to take a chastity pledge as part of a school course.

The pledge, shared on social media in China, read, "I promise to myself, my family, my friends and my future spouse and children that I will refuse all kinds of premarital intercourse before I step into a lifelong monogamous marriage."

The pledge was condemned as sexist by some commenters.

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