Tsinghua University building name raises debate

A building in Tsinghua University raises heated discussion after it was named after a clothing company.

BEIJING – A building on the campus of Tsinghua University, one of China’s elite colleges, took on the name of a popular clothing company on Monday, giving rise to much debate among students.

Workers on Monday afternoon affixed golden-colored plates bearing the name of the Hong Kong-based Jeanswest Clothing (China) Co Ltd onto the wall of the No 4 classroom building on the university’s campus, according to online posts written by students.

The use of the company’s name, which also appears on its products, stirred discontent.

“I know it’s a common practice to name university buildings after prominent figures who have given large donations,” said a postgraduate student at the university, who declined to give her name.

“I think it’s improper to have the company’s name on a classroom building,” she added.

A university alumnus, who also would not give his name, was more blunt. He said the use of the company’s name was not in keeping with the university’s status as an elite institution in China.

In April, Jeanswest Clothing agreed in a deal with the university to give money for the maintenance of the building and the replacement of equipment, Tsinghua University said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday.

In return, the building, which was completed in 1987, was given the company’s name.

The university declined to give details about the deal or the amount of the donation.

“We understand the discussions among the students,” Jiang Ling, a senior manager with the company’s marketing department, said on Tuesday.

Jiang confirmed that the company had reached the deal with the university in April. She would not say how much the company had given to the university or how long the plates will stay on the building’s walls.

The university is now soliciting hundreds of millions of yuan in gifts. Donors who give specified amounts will be able to name 14 buildings on the campus after themselves, according to the university’s education foundation.

Among the things the buildings contain a laboratory and an archive. The cost of naming them ranges from 2 million yuan ($308,000) to more than 100 million yuan.

Leave a Reply