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December 13, 2011

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Scholarship not commercial, Fudan insists

FUDAN University stated yesterday that no commercial terms were attached when the school accepted a scholarship set up by local stand-up comedian Zhou Libo in the name of his "Shanghai Clean Talk" performance.

The statement was issued to refute a rumor spreading online saying that the 300,000 yuan (US$47,129) annual scholarship was set up by Zhou with "additional terms" requiring the prize-winners to promote Zhou's performance in China and abroad.

The online rumor has triggered a heated discussion about the scholarship among university professors, students and netizens over whether universities should allow entertainment or commercial elements on campus.

"Donating money to support education is a noble act but the donors cannot attach additional conditions or terms that will go against the development of the students," Fudan said in the statement. "The university is against any commercial act or public stunt, and it will check whether a scholarship is offered for such purposes."

Fudan said in the statement that so far the university has accepted more than 200 scholarships by individuals or groups. According to the university's plan for the Shanghai Clean Talk Elite Scholarship, 15 students with outstanding performance in academics or charity works will be awarded 20,000 yuan each year. Fudan said the scholarship founder has to gain the university's approval for any activity arrangement for the prize winners.

On the microblog, some blasted the grant before Fudan issued the statement, calling it an invasion into the university's atmosphere. "If Fudan accepted the prize, it would be the university to bow to the commercial business," said one comment.

But Feng Wei, a professor of history at Fudan, wrote, "The money ... is also earned by hard work so why should the university decline the donation?"


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