Students' Stir Furor With Tale Of Holiday Job Scandal
CHARLENE L. FU
Feb. 04, 1993
BEIJING (AP) _ Three female foreign students say officials at one of China's top universities steered them to a vacation job at a hotel where they spent 10 days fending off amorous men at a bar.
Officials at Shanghai's Fudan University deny any wrongdoing.
The women - two from Yugoslavia and one from Ukraine - say the school recruited them in December to work as hostesses at the bar in southern China's Guangdong province. Once there, they say, they discovered that the bar management expected them to work as prostitutes.
Songa Zidverc, one of the three, said in a telephone interview from Shanghai on Wednesday, ''We don't want to make a big fuss. We don't want to make any big scandal. We just want to make other foreign students aware.''
Miss Zidverc complained to the Yugoslav Embassy in Beijing, while Vilena Sterling of Ukraine contacted the Russian Consulate in Shanghai.
Officials at both missions said they planned to investigate and take it up with the university or State Education Commission.
American, Dutch and other foreign students at Fudan have written to their diplomatic missions complaining of the school's alleged role.
The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai sought an explanation from Fudan President Hua Zhongyi. A consular official, speaking Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said Hua replied that a school investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by any Fudan official.
The Dutch Embassy said it, too, was looking into the story.
Chen Renfeng, director of the Foreign Students Office, said the students' story was not true.
Chen acknowledged that Fudan has arranged for foreign students to work as hostesses at Shanghai restaurants and shops. She said the school considered the jobs good opportunities for students to broaden their understanding of China and practice Chinese.
Miss Zidverc and Miss Sterling, contacted at their Fudan dormitory, told The Associated Press that they and Tanga Panogotovech, a Yugoslav, were sought out by Fudan's Foreign Students Office.
They were offered jobs for 10 days at the Huazhonghua Karaoke Restaurant in Humen, a small town about 90 miles north of Hong Kong in Guangdong, a prosperous, freewheeling region where prostitution is more common than elsewhere in China.
Fudan officials told the women that the new nightspot wanted them to take part in an opening ceremony and work as hostesses. They were paid $174 in advance, about five months' salary for an ordinary Chinese worker.
Miss Sterling said she had misgivings about the job but the school agreed to send a chaperone, Wang Guanyao of the Foreign Students Office.
Miss Zidverc said that on the first night a local government official with whom they were sitting asked a bar employee the price of a night with one of them. He told the man to ask Wang, Miss Zidverc said.
She said the bar managers also touched them intimately and began ringing them up in the middle of the night at their hotel, asking ''do we do business.''
She said the meaning was clear, and that the women repeatedly refused.
Both women said they asked repeatedly for Wang to help them leave, but he failed to do anything. Miss Sterling said he tried to persuade them to give in, arguing that the money was good.
Wang and other Fudan officials deny the women were asked to do anything more than be hostesses.
''They have low morals. They lie,'' he said.
Russians and eastern Europeans have flocked to China since the fall of Communism in their countries to engage in trade or work as waitresses.
Some of the women have become prostitutes in a nation where white women are sometimes seen as being more attractive and having looser morals than Chinese women.