The Chinese education ministry yesterday denied ordering foreign students to leave before the Olympic Games in August, but one of the country’s major universities said it had canceled summer courses and expected all foreign students whose courses to end this term to leave China by July 10.
A ministry spokesperson issued a statement saying that reports of a ban on foreign students during the Olympics were “false” and that international cooperation and academic exchanges would continue “normally.”
“The relevant stories are totally false,” the spokesperson said in a statement posted on the ministry’s Web site.
“They [universities] have never asked students to leave China during the Olympics and Paralympics,” the statement said.
“During the Olympics and Paralympics, foreign students can continue to stay in China legally,” it said.
However, an administrator at the foreign students’ office of the People’s University in Beijing said summer courses for foreigners were canceled this year.
“We have no short-term training courses this year,” the administrator said.
She confirmed that the courses were canceled because of the holding of the Olympics in Beijing and said that students whose courses end this term would not be able to stay in China.
“This term ends on June 28 and the visas for students on courses which end then will expire on July 10,” she said.
“It is impossible for these people to renew their visas if they want to stay in China or travel in China,” she said.
A spokeswoman for Peking University, one of China’s most prestigious colleges, which enrolls hundreds of foreign students annually on Chinese-language and other courses, on Thursday said most of its foreign students were expected to leave China over the summer.
“Even if you have to continue your studies in September, you need to leave Beijing in July and August,” said the spokeswoman from Peking University’s international department.
The spokeswoman said the two-month gap applies to all universities in Beijing and was ordered by “higher authorities” because of the Olympics.
Peking University has also canceled all short-term summer courses for foreigners this year, she said.
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