Med Student Trades Sex For Academic Opportunities

January 10, 2006 Updated: January 10, 2006

June is a recent graduate of N Medical University in China. Soon after graduation, she got the chance to work in the N Medical School Affiliated Hospital — a highly sought after position. Several days ago, after June read an article titled “Restore the Reputation of Female University Student – Refute 'University in China Will Become the Largest Brothel'” [note 1] on the Internet, she revealed just how she came by such a coveted appointment.

June: When I first arrived at university I was very impressed by the skyscrapers and trendy people on the streets—everything was totally different to my little hometown in the country. It made me feel embarrassed and somehow inferior, but it also piqued my curiosity. I wanted to be one of these city people. I swore to myself then that I would work hard, become an excellent doctor, and win a chance to stay in the city.

During my first and second year at university, I spent all my spare time on my studies. As a result, my marks were among the top ten in my class. I felt that I was moving toward my future as one of those city people, although my clothes still looked quite shabby compared to those of my classmates.

During my third year, the confidence that I had developed as a result of my academic success was extinguished. I realized that no matter how high my marks ranked, no matter how much effort I put in and how well I did at my studies, I could never hope to hold an important position in my class. I could not become student chief of my class, department or university. These positions depended on social and party affiliations that I did not have. Whenever our city classmates went to some social function, all of us from the country would be left behind. I felt very disillusioned.

Only after a chance conversation with another student from my village {she was pursuing post-graduate work at the time) did I realize the big secret. She told me, “If you want to get a good job, it is useless to just study hard. The key person for you is your class chief [note 2]. You need a good relationship with the teachers, officials and leaders from the University Office, Youth League Committee and University Student Management Section, etc. Those departments are in charge of student management. Did you notice that the school opening is the busiest time for the teachers? Not only do they need to be at home to wait for bribes from the students, but they also need to attend banquets hosted by the students' parents.”

I said, “But I have problems filling my stomach, where could I get enough money to bribe anyone?” That was when my fellow-villager continued to explain, “Have you noticed your classmates W and L. Aren't they very welcomed?”

“W and L,” I replied, “don't they look like prostitutes?” She seemed hurt and said, “Don't abuse people. People have different aspirations.”

From her demeanor I knew I had said something wrong. There had been rumors that she was the mistress of a section chief, and that he was financing her education in return.

After returning from her place, I couldn't get her words out of my mind, and I could not study anything. I needed to gain admittance to a hospital for the next term to do my practical studies. Many students had already been confirmed for spots at different hospitals, and the rest were totally consumed by the process of choosing one over another based on their supposed merits. Only the few of us from the countryside had not received any news regarding our appointments. We went to our class chief to ask why we had not heard anything, but he did not explain the situation. Instead, he told us not to worry because if we didn't receive an appointment, we could finish our practical studies at our hometown hospitals.

I felt confused. Was my dream of staying in the city about to come to a harsh end? I sought the advice of my friend, the mistress. She seemed to have forgiven me for my former criticisms and told me that I should never return to my hometown. She reminded me that there is only one hospital in our hometown and that if I was not lucky, I could end up at a village clinic. Even if I was lucky, and managed to get a job at the hospital, my salary would only be a few hundred yuan per month—less than a third of what I would be paid at a city hospital. She also made it clear to me that if I did not do my practical studies at a city hospital, I would never have a chance of getting a job at one.

“Is there any other way?” I asked, feeling hopeless. “Go to see your class chief,” she said, “and go alone.” I knew what she meant. It had come to this point and I could see no alternative. I put on a little make-up and went to see the class chief.

This time, the class chief was very kind to me. He brought me a glass of water, sat in front of me and had a good look at my breasts. I lowered my head.

“June,” he said, “your studies in class are excellent, but your social capability is no good. You should become more practiced at this aspect. If you follow me, you will have no problem doing your practical studies at the hospital of your choice. Many of the hospital section chiefs are my classmates.”

“Whatever teacher wishes of me I will do,” I replied, while keeping my gaze lowered to the floor. “Great!” he replied. “I am quite busy with my thesis at the moment. Come by my office tonight and help me with some typing.”

That night, on the way to the chief's office, I walked very slowly. Several times I almost gave up and turned back, but I didn't. I felt that I had never walked so long in all of my 21 years, though the chief's office should have been a short walk from my apartment. When I pushed open the door to his office he closed it quickly behind me. What happened after that was inevitable.

I lost my virginity that night, but in exchange the chief promised me that he would see to it that I could stay in the city. Of course, in order to achieve my final goal, on the chief's advice, I visited several other men's offices… They were all important people who could make or break my future.

Note 1: This article was in response to a May 21, 2003, Youth Reference article called “Investigation Report of Female University Student Prostitute Phenomenon.” In the article, journalist Chen Renjie reported the story of a female university student prostitute in Wuhan city and the report quickly caused a national stir. Many articles were published on the Internet refuting that these practices occur. According to an AFP report from Beijing on May 29, 2003, Chen Wenjie was fired over the article along with two editors-in-chief.

Note 2: 'Class chief' is a title within the CCP student management system. The person who fills this position is nominated by the local Communist Party branch affiliated with the university. The nominees are almost always Party members.