Plagiarizing Beauty

Well, I’m not really sure if “plagiarism” is the right word exactly. The other day I stumbled upon a Chinese article concerning the 校花 of various colleges and universities in China. I find the whole concept of 校花–a “campus babe” representing the best in feminine beauty that a school has to offer–pretty sexist, but China holds no monopoly on sexism, and that’s another matter altogether.

The point of the article is that pictures of these pretty girls–supposedly students at certain schools–are often posted online (presumably by members of those schools), but the girls in the pictures are sometimes not students of the named schools at all. In fact, in some cases, the girls in the pictures are even fairly well-known stars.


plagiarizing beauty

The girl at the left is not a student of Peking University as someone online claimed, but a Taiwanese star. The girl in the middle is not a student of Northeast Agricultural University as claimed, but a Taiwanese cartoonist. The girl at the right is not a student of Nanjing University of Science and Technology as claimed, but a Hong Kong star. The original article gives many more examples, including pictures of Japanese and Korean stars.

I’m not sure how to classify this kind of false representation, but its existence here in China doesn’t surprise me. It does, however, somewhat amuse me.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. CaptainEO Says: January 12, 2006 at 7:54 am

    Gotta admit that could be a pretty effective recruiting strategy… I wouldn’t mind going to school with Chen Ziyao.

  2. Justin (Parasite) Says: January 12, 2006 at 8:55 am

    I never believed in a single xiaohua for a second. Have you been on any uni campuses in China ? The Chinese themselves must be insane if they believe any of them. I think when they apply to college in China, they must include a pic, and if they are remotely attractive the app goes right in the trash can! Swear to god. Saw the same phenomena in Japan campuses. Why am I non-biased observer ? Well I’m (unwillingly) a bit of an Asianphile, and yet I would say there are more acceptable gerls on generic US Uni campus than either Asian country! That’s really saying something. Back in the day, telling folks in China I had a gf, they would without fail ask if she went to the same Uni. I never failed to make a sickened expression before responding, HELL NO, she’s not in Uni.

    Anyway I can’t see anything sexist about xiaohua, you know there is nothing attractive about guys. I mean it is just sick to think big disgusting hairy legs and hairy faced masculine beasts should be considered equally along with gerls as possibly being ‘attractive’.

  3. So, when you think about it, none of them are from “China” in that Taiwan & Hong Kong are not part of the “real” China. China is trying to incorporate both of them tho.

  4. Now that Chinese people are freely substituting Japanese and Koreans I hereby assert that Westerners cannot be blamed for confusing them any more.

    (cf “Memiors of a Geisha” with the Chinese cast… or maybe that’s just Hollywood.)

  5. Justin, can you not spell the word “girl”?

    Not saying that that’s the only annoying thing about your post, but it’s certainly the worst.

  6. Tim P: what do you mean? Hong Kong and Taiwan are part of China, just look on a map – say, Maybe you’re confused???

  7. Greg Pasden Says: January 12, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    If they used these girls be used in a Bud Light commercial and mentioned something about college then it would be very similar to a US Campus recruiting tool.

  8. “I mean it is just sick to think big disgusting hairy legs and hairy faced masculine beasts should be considered equally along with gerls as possibly being ‘attractive’.”

    I haven’t noticed too many Asian men with big hairy legs and hairy faces.

  9. No pretty girls on Chinese college campuses, Justin? Ha. You just have to know where to look. Some of the undergrads from waiyuxi (the foreign languages department) or j-school can be quite babelicious.

  10. Justin (Parasite) Says: January 13, 2006 at 12:08 am

    (totally OT) Richard, I use the words ‘gerl’ ‘mum’ and ‘dodgy’ in honor of a dear ICQ friendship I had at the age of 16 with a British guy by the name of Ultra Funkular. Since I have lost contact with him for so many years, I sooth my pain by using these, his characteristic words, in honor of him.

    Sonagi – You are definitely right! That’s why if I were going to be raped and had a choice of victimizer, I would definitely chose an Asian guy. But the problem that Chinese guys still face is geekyness. I think the Chinese guys look like the best geeks in the world. It is at a totally disproportionate ratio to the rest of world populations: in USA you can find at best 1 geek/10 males. On a given campus in China you can easily find 9.5 geeks/10 males. It is a serious problem for them, how will they ever make themselves look more cool and ‘normal’ like, for example, Taiwanese or Japanese guys ? I thought it was a genetic problem when I first pondered up this issue, but have come to realize a significant proportion of those affected could aleviate a number of symptoms by working on: clothing style (especially moving your pants down to your hips, instead of belting them to your belly button), and overall gesture / personal atmospheres.

  11. Wait till you see m…. oh, never mind.

  12. nausicaa* is right. foreign language schools are filled with them. just go to chongqing fl uni

    *of all the characters in greek mythology, why would you use this name??

  13. oh, and nearly half of all pictures on chinese dating sites are swiped just like this

  14. I must have gotten lucky then (though several of them looked good in a picture only at a very specific angle).

  15. Plagiarism and ESL

    Today I had my first “plagiarizer” of the semester. With the accessibility of the internet, plagiarism in papers has become for students to do and, at the same time, easier and easier for instructors to detect.

  16. bocaj: You’re overthinking the name, it’s probably just a Japanese Anime reference ala 風の谷のナウシカ. I doubt they’re even aware of a Ναυσικάα 🙂

  17. You need to meet me then Sonagi, I’m the hairiest Asian guy I know!

  18. Justin, if I ever wanted to be raped then I hope it would be as I walked through one of the many Nanjing University campuses (campii??) as I passed by the female dorms. I also hope it would be a gang rape and a long slow one at that. If all you guys are not seeing ‘babes’ at the uni’s then surely all the babes are studying in NJ and you all need to transfer.

  19. Justin,are you a racist?I just want to give a chinese idiom to you as a gift:无知者无畏

    About the article of “校花”,this is just a jest on internet,the most chinese like me all know that and ignore it,real 校花 even more pretty than these. some stupid people fabricate it, but you guys take it so seriously,LOL.

  20. Ultra Funkular Says: July 28, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Justin (Parasite) – you missed me 😛

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