Chinese sitcom apologises for University of Nottingham slur

Ningbo campus provost threatens legal action over ‘deliberate misrepresentation’

November 3, 2017
Ningbo, China
Source: Getty

The producers of a Chinese sitcom have been forced to apologise to the University of Nottingham after appearing to portray the university in a negative light for a storyline.

An episode of the television show, the name of which roughly translates as “Road Turns White Since Tonight”, features a character who is an alumnus of the institution's Ningbo campus and seemingly disparages the university’s academic standards. “I was also at Nottingham University for four years," he says. "I understand my fellow classmates very well – they need only hand in their assignments on time to get their hands on a degree certificate.”

Chris Rudd, the provost for Nottingham’s campus in Ningbo, said that the incident demonstrated a “deliberate misrepresentation and breach of trust”. The university had granted permission for filming to take place on campus, he added, but had reportedly never granted permission for the university’s name to be used in any form.

Professor Rudd said that the university will seek legal advice and has contacted the show’s producer to request a retraction, according to English-language website Sixth Tone.

The Chinese network involved, Hunan TV, responded in a statement: "The University of Nottingham is a world-class research-led university with academic excellence…We deeply apologise for the misleading dialogue from the characters.

“We will delete the misleading dialogue, the university’s name and logo as soon as possible in order to not [cause more] misunderstanding. From now on, we will be more careful when creating TV dramas and will try to create more excellent works.”

rachael.pells@timeshighereducation.com

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Reader's comments (1)

Good to see the University of Nottingham acting exactly like the Chinese state and quelling all dissent. Also not that surprising as the person who is actually in charge of UNNC is a Communist Party official. Now there's a story for the Times Higher to pursue, but they won't.

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