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November 18, 2009

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Uni's kissing police still patrol

TWO months after an eastern China university banned public kissing and canoodling on campus, the petting police are still on patrol - despite heated debate.

About 100 student guards wearing red armbands are employed by the Nanjing Forestry University to cool public displays of affection among students on the campus in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

"My boyfriend and I were interrupted by 'a red armband' as we were sitting together on campus. The guy came over and warned us to behave. I really can't bear this," said a student calling herself Dian Dian on chat site

Dian Dian's opinion echoes the majority of posts on leading Chinese Websites, such as and Many say that displays of affection break no rules.

Lin Aijun, an associate professor on law at Jinan University, said the monitoring did not violate people's rights because the school had administrative rights to restrict student behavior on campus. Also, the red armbands only advised students against their behavior without taking any mandatory measures.

Like spitting

The university authorities have declined to make any public comment, but they show no sign of easing the ban despite media attention.

A school official said it has been four years since red armbands appeared on campus to monitor and stop uncivil behavior such as spitting and trampling the lawns.

"Each red-armband guard does a two-hour shift every day to monitor uncivil manners. The part-time work can earn me 100 yuan (US$14.50) to 200 yuan a month from the school," said a student surnamed Zhou.

"It's difficult to set a standard to judge what kinds of behavior should be stopped. But some acts are surely unacceptable like sitting or lying on another's legs, hugging or kissing too long," she said.

The red armbands' work has won some support from the students.

"Long kisses and other excessive displays are inappropriate for campus. They embarrass passers-by. University is a place for education. Such behavior should be stopped, just like other displays of bad manners, such as spitting," said student Lin Yan.

But student Chen De argued: "Kissing isn't like smoking, which pollutes the air and harms the health of others. People can choose to ignore kissing."


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