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Student Takes Tuition Trouble to Court

A student at Peking University complained that the well-known institution collected extra tuition fees, violating the Price Law and a relevant local regulation in Beijing.

The student, named Zhu Bin, took the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform to court on Tuesday, claiming the commission failed to punish the university according to law after receiving his complaint.

No decision was made after the first hearing at the Xicheng District People's Court in the capital city.

According to Zhu, who is an undergraduate student following Peking University's distance learning courses, the university collected 8 yuan (97 US cents) per hour.

"But the national standard prescribes that the price should be controlled below 7 yuan (85 US cents) per hour," Zhu was quoted as saying by Beijing News.

"Universities' fee collecting should be conducted according to the national standard, instead of being adjusted by market," Zhu was quoted as saying.

He insisted that if an organization collects extra fees, a punishment should be given for the illegal behavior.

But sources with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform disagreed with Zhu.

The commission conducted an examination over fee collection of the distance leaning courses immediately after receiving a reporting letter from the student earlier this year, sources said.

"But our examination shows that the fee standard is some 5 yuan (60 US cents) per hour, less than the national standard of 7 yuan (85 US cents)," an official said.

Sources with the commission said the misunderstanding is caused by working mistakes by the financial staff with the university. But Zhu refused to accept the result and said he is considering suing Peking University directly.

Zhu reported to the local development and reform commission in February, saying that Peking University charged extra fees and requested administrative punishment for the university.

The commission replied to him in April that the university did not charge extra fees. Zhu then sued the commission to court in August.

(China Daily September 23, 2004)

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