Alleged cat abuser denied graduate school admission

Zhang Long
The refusal of two universities to reject a high-scoring graduate applicant who was alleged to have been involved in animal abuse sparks heated debate online.
Zhang Long

The refusal of two Chinese universities to admit a student with a history of animal abuse has sparked heated discussion online.

The student, surnamed Xu, ranked first in a preliminary test while applying for the graduate program in physics at Nanjing University. He failed admission after an interview.

Similarly, Lanzhou University in northwest China's Gansu Province announced on Monday that it had also removed him from the waitlist.

The applicant, who completed his undergraduate studies at the School of Civil Engineering at Southeast University, was allegedly involved in a cat-abuse incident. He had abused a cat in his dormitory, recording and uploading the video online.

One leaked clip showed him putting a cat into a bucket before stepping on the cat's head, according to Shandong-based Jinan Times on March 4.

He was also alleged to be part of an online group that took pleasure in such cruelty.

Alleged cat abuser denied graduate school admission

A blurred screenshot of Xu's cat-abuse video.

Earlier, several netizens had posted on online platforms, reporting that Xu had recorded videos of animal abuse in his dormitory. Police in Nanjing interviewed Xu and his family, requiring him to write a letter of remorse and promise not to offend again, according to a report.

Lanzhou University's website said the reason for the applicant's removal from its waitlist was because "the university takes a comprehensive approach during the postgraduate entrance process."

When pressed on whether the cat abuse incident was a factor, a staff member said: "Such behavior could indeed have an impact," according to the report.

Alleged cat abuser denied graduate school admission

The School of Nuclear Science and Technology at Lanzhou University.

From April 3, numerous netizens have been flooding Lanzhou University's Weibo account with messages, urging the university to exercise caution.

Comments include calls not to admit students of poor character, emphasizing "morality, intelligence, and physical fitness, with morality being the most important."

Alleged cat abuser denied graduate school admission

Many netizens have posted on Lanzhou University's Weibo account urging it to approach the matter with caution, and not to accept students of poor character.

China's Ministry of Education regulations allow universities to assess applicants' ideology and morality.

Xu declined an interview with the reporter with Jimu News, stating: "I don't really understand the online public opinion."

Hu Xijin, former editor of Global Times, called on social media and society to give Xu a chance to correct his mistakes. He noted: "This applicant is only about 22 or 23 years old, and his life is just beginning. Posting videos of cat abuse is a serious mistake, indicating possible psychological issues, but our society should give him the opportunity to correct these mistakes and offer this young person a way forward and hope."

Hu also emphasized that losing the opportunity to become a graduate student at the School of Physics at Nanjing University was already a severe punishment. Hu hopes that the applicant truly repents and reforms his values.

At the same time, once he has truly shown remorse, the public sphere should not continue to "pursue" him, Hu said. "Our society should give this young man a chance to start anew, without making him universally unwelcome and avoided by all institutions," Hu added.

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