Chinese academic suspended for comments about polygamy and teacher-student relationships

Chinese academic suspended for comments about polygamy and teacher-student relationships
The lecturer demanded ‘special treatment’ for young professors ‘allowing them to have multiple spouses’

A lecturer from a top Chinese university has been suspended after making controversial comments about polygamy, including advocating teacher-student relationships.

Bao Yinan, a legal researcher and lecturer at the prestigious East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, was suspended from all his teaching activity and is under investigation by a working group, the university’s Communist Party committee said in a statement.

The statement said he was suspended for “publishing wrong views online” and further steps would be taken against him.

According to Chinese media reports, Mr Bao, in a series of posts on WeChat, said the authorities “should give university professors special treatment, for example allowing them to have multiple spouses and provide them permanent subsidies”. Along with the comment, he shared an article about China’s competitive tenure system, arguing how young university academics should be treated better.

The issue of tenure for professors is in the headlines after a 39-year-old mathematics teacher at Shanghai’s prestigious Fudan University killed a Communist Party official when he found out he was about to lose his teaching job.

In another comment, Mr Bao said, in response to a question on whether he agreed with teacher-student relationships: “I do not object to it… my goal this year is to find a girlfriend born after 2000.”

Mr Bao’s posts were reportedly put up on WeChat moments, and were visible to only his circle of friends. Mr Bao went on to delete his posts, which had sparked a strong response, but he complained that his university had put pressure on him to do so.

According to the Guardian, a hashtag related to Mr Bao’s posts has been viewed 31 million times on WeChat.

In China, polygamy is illegal under the Civil code. A ban on teacher-student romances is also being considered, since the legal age of consent in China is just 14.