Wuhan University in China’s Hubei province went on a crusade against foreign students Monday, expelling an unprecedented 92 of them from ten different countries.
The university, which boasts about 3,300 international students, has previously expelled one or two of them per year at most.
According to Chinese Ministry of Education sources quoted by local media and the South China Morning Post, the expulsions were based on problems “ranging from poor grades to discipline violations and failure to pay tuition fees,” and most of the students involved were warned they might face expulsion up to a year ago.
“The ministry has attached great importance to international students studying in China. In the past, we focused on quantity, but now quality is more important,” a Ministry of Education staffer said.
The ministry further stated that overseas students were being “held to the same standards as local students” after years of allowing foreign students to get by with attendance problems and unpaid tuition that would not have been tolerated for locals.
According to the South China Morning Post, most of China’s foreign students are from other Asian nations, with South Korea in the lead at roughly ten percent of the total. 16 percent of China’s foreign students are from Africa, while most of the rest come from developing countries on other continents.
The Ministry of Education issued a notice this year calling for universities and other academic institutions to “teach Chinese laws and regulations, school rules and safety information to foreign students throughout their education.” Failure to attend “mandatory school activities” other than classes is one of the grounds for expulsion so, presumably, foreign students can get in trouble for skipping seminars on “Chinese laws and regulations.”
A report from ANN News on Tuesday identified one of the expelled foreign students as Natalia Qiao Liya of Ukraine, who was pursuing a PhD in modern Chinese literature. She was booted out of Hubei University this year after appearing on a popular Chinese matchmaking reality show in 2014. According to the university, her studies declined due to her pursuit of celebrity and time spent on subsequent television appearances after her spot on the matchmaking show made her famous. (She evidently decided to pursue a singing career and was well-received by Chinese audiences.)