There are about 23000 students studying in Chinese universities whose fates hang in the balance. Chinese apps are being used by Chinese universities for online classes, forcing Indian students to use fake VPNs to attend classes online. 23,000 Indian students pursuing online education have been negatively affected after they are forced to download banned Chinese apps. At least 20,000 of them are medical students, studying in different Chinese universities.
As a result of the standoff with China at the border, the Indian government banned 250 Chinese mobile apps last year. Apps like WeChat, DingTalk, Superstar and a video chat app by Tencent are used by Chinese universities. Students have been asked to get access to these apps and study. The Indian Students in China (ISC) have raised the issue with both Chinese and Indian authorities. For now, students are accessing these apps through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to attend classes. While travel to China is still prohibited, students pay annual fees between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 4.5 lakh.
A student from Jaipur who recently completed MBBS 2nd year at Harbin Medical University spoke to the media and said, ‘I do not know when I will be able to attend regular classes and we have major challenges attending online classes as well. Students at my university are using the Tencent app, which is banned in India’. Singh is preparing for the National Exit Test (NExT) exam, which is required for foreign students to practice in India.
There are many organizations in India working to bring the issues to the attention of the authorities. A member of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce (SCCCI), Manish Kapadia stated, ‘We are trying to arrange a meeting with ministers in the central government to discuss the issues of Gujarati students’.