College students forced to intern at electronics factory
An university accused of forcing several hundred students to intern at an electronics factory made a public apology on Friday and promised to withdraw all students from the factory.
“We are very sorry for problems that emerged in the internship activity and the adverse social impact it has caused. We sincerely apologize to students, parents and the public,” said the announcement from the university.
The Shenyang Urban Construction University in Liaoning province has been accused of forcing more than 700 sophomore students to intern at a Foxconn factory in Yantai, Shandong province.
Netizens have claimed on Sina Weibo that students from Shenyang Urban Construction University are being made to work at Foxconn, a contract electronics manufacturing company whose clients include Apple and Nintendo, for three months starting July 15.
An image of an exchange on WeChat between a student and a teacher surnamed Sun suggests students who object could be denied credits or even their degree certificate.
The original post carrying the allegations has been viewed over 5 million times on Sina Weibo.
A netizen with the username Moseqingchun who claimed to be one of the interns said the food offered to the students was poor while the dormitories had no air conditioning.
“I thought the internship would be helpful for my son’s future, but I feel distressed now,” read a comment from a parent who posted anonymously. “I can only comfort him and hope more people will learn what has happened.”
Foxconn could not be contacted for comment.
Late on Thursday, the Liaoning provincial education authority published a statement prohibiting all schools from organizing students for internships during summer vacations and encourages students to participate in social practice or social welfare activities.
The statement said that work teams will be sent to Shandong, assisting the university to send the students back.
The university said it will not arrange activities for students during the summer vacation, and pay for their transportation expenses.
The Ministry of Education issued regulations on vocational school internships in April that allow secondary schools and higher education institutes to place students at public and private enterprises.
But if the school forced students into internship or put students in a harmful environment during their internship, the school would be suspected of violating the law, said Wang Fei, a lawyer from Liaoning Bailian Law Firm.
Huang Wenshu contributed to this story.
Wang Yi (left), minister of foreign affairs, Li Jiheng (second left), Party chief of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, and diplomatic envoys from other countries watch a Mongolian ethnic music performance in Beijing on Friday. The performance was part of a promotional event for the autonomous region organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.