CHINA - Lawyers and students from universities in Gansu and Henan provinces are asking the authorities to strengthen supervision of mandatory student internships and create legislation to address abuses.
The lawyers and students say internships should be voluntary and schools should not force students to do internships, as current laws and regulations stipulate.
But Yin Kun, a senior student from Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu, said he was forced to become an intern.
"I am now doing an internship at a subdistrict office of the community, which was arranged by my faculty," he said.
"All of my classmates are assigned to work in different communities for about two months. The faculty doesn't permit us to look for internships ourselves."
Yin said the students didn't sign any agreements with the faculty or the communities and don't get any pay except for a transportation allowance of 2 yuan (S$0.40) a day.
"This kind of internship is totally unrelated to our major. We didn't have any part in the communication between the school and these communities," Yin said. "If there is an incident during the internship, I don't know who should be responsible."
Yin's story was corroborated by Liu Weiyi, a student from another university in Gansu.
"During the mandatory internship, students often don't sign labour contracts with the company. They get no salary and their rights to education and work can't be guaranteed", Liu said.
Such mandatory internships are not isolated cases. The media have reported that thousands of students from Xi'an Technological University North Institute of Information Engineering have been forced to do internships at the Yantai branch of Foxconn Group, an electronics manufacturing giant.