New School Rule: Boys And Girls Must Keep Half A Meter Apart

A secondary school in Hangzhou is one of several throughout China that have implemented rules designed to keep teens' focus on the books and off each other. They have been met with outrage from social media users.

What's the Latest Development?

Several secondary schools in China have recently taken what some say are extreme measures to discourage students from getting too close to each other. At one Hangzhou school, boys and girls "must maintain a minimum distance of half a metre (1.64 ft) from each other at all times" and can't appear in pairs on campus. Another school in Wenzhou threatens "severe disciplinary action" if students have too much "close interaction" regardless of their gender. One Beijing high school graduate says that some schools there have similar rules but they aren't always applied consistently.

What's the Big Idea?

Teenage romance is generally frowned upon in China because adults think it distracts students from concentrating on their studies. Some, such as Nanjing University professor Zhang Yuling, think the schools are on the right track: "[T]oday's young people are exposed to more information and contents than any previous generations. People are particularly concerned over the availability...of pornography." However, the rules have caused outrage both on social media sites, where they were labeled "barbaric and oppressive," and in mainstream media outlets such as China Youth Daily, which called them "absurd, ridiculous and illegal."

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