The wild moment a high school student confronted a renowned university professor on stage has gone viral, leading to the educator’s suspension.
On Saturday, Chen Hongyou, an associate professor of education at China’s Hefei Normal University, was delivering a talk on the topic of gratitude at Lujiang Middle School in Anhui province.
Chen had claimed that students essentially choose to study hard in order to make money, infuriating an unnamed male teen, who immediately interrupted the speech.
A video of the bizarre incident has been shared widely on social media, including on TikTok and Weibo, and shows the student striding across the stage, taking Chen’s microphone and accusing him of glorifying the west.
“He only has money in his eyes, thinks learning is just for money, worships the West and panders to overseas powers,” the student says, according to a translation of the clip by Bloomberg.
“For what purpose do we study hard? It’s for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. We study for the rise of China.
“Do not crossbreed with Americans!”
The furore caused some members of the audience to walk out of the lecture, although many also remained until the end.
Chen later confirmed in an interview with China’s The Paperthat it was him in the video, and insisted the purpose of his speech was to push students “to use their own efforts to change their destiny, and to step toward the wider country and the world”.
However, he also admitted to joking about several topics during his talk to the middle school students, and that he had used “ridiculous remarks” about gender, nationality and ethnic groups before describing the entire situation as a misunderstanding.
“This society is diverse, and everyone thinks differently. This child dares to express his views, which needs to be affirmed, but maybe he didn’t fully understand what I meant and misunderstood,” he told the publication.
“But anyway, what happened. It was my fault that students misunderstood and felt uncomfortable.
“As an educator who has worked for more than 30 years, I feel very guilty.”
Chen confirmed he had been suspended from the university and was ordered to write an essay about what had transpired.
His profile has also been removed from the university’s website.
Meanwhile, Lujiang county’s local government took to social media to claim the speech had sparked “dissatisfaction” among teachers and students due to “inappropriate content”, and said the school will also be investigated in order to “hold it to account” for approving the speech.