Student cohabitation raises controversy

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, May 10, 2011
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Female students at Heibei Normal University in Shijiazhuang sign their names on a poster to resist cohabitation on May 4, Youth Day in China.

Female students at Heibei Normal University in Shijiazhuang sign their names on a poster to resist cohabitation on May 4, Youth Day in China.

A seminar named for Pang Jiaojiao, a 23-year-old math junior at Hebei University of Economics and Business, will be held in Dingzhou Jizhong Vocational College in Hebei Province on Tuesday, with the goal of fostering morality in college students, in response to a recent nationwide anti-cohabitation campaign.

The seminar comes after Pang called on about 1,000 students to sign their names on two banners splayed with vows rejecting male-female off-campus cohabitation in late April.

The activity soon developed into a nationwide campaign and was taken up by several universities, including Shijiazhuang Vocational College of Foreign Language Translation, Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Hebei Normal University and Jilin University.

Pang and her teachers will be invited to the seminar, according to Ren Zhenjiao, vice president of the morals education committee of the China Ethics Society, one of the organizers of the seminar.

"We believe it was brave of Pang is brave to take a stand against cohabitation. She represents a dynamic voice of social consciousness," Ren said.

Though there are multiple opinions when it comes to college-student cohabitation, it should be discouraged whenever possible, Ren said.

Pang, who is also the head of traditional-culture society in the school, told the Global Times that she got the idea to launch this campaign after being inundated with fliers advertising "painless abortion" at her dorm.

"This kind of thing makes me feel insulted as a woman," she said. "I want to counter the impression that college students, especially girls, are promiscuous."

Pang stressed that she doesn't oppose students pursuing virtuous love, and that her boyfriend shares the same opinion with her that "cohabitation leads to negative outcomes, including abortion, and doesn't prepare students well for marriage."

From vows to restrictions

Shijiazhuang Vocational College of Foreign Language Translation was the first school to respond to Pang's campaign. Not merely discouraging cohabitation, the school has taken a daring step of issuing regulations to restrict cohabitation entirely.

"We've founded a campus supervisory team to tackle this issue, with the goal of rooting out cohabitation when it occurs," Wang Zhenling, vice secretary of the college's Party committee, told the Global Times.

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