Tai chi compulsory for Xi'an Jiaotong University undergrads
An elementary school student practices tai chi during a break in 2015 in Wenxian county, Henan province, where tai chi classes have been offered since 2001. XU HONGXING/CHINA DAILY
A university in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province, is requiring undergraduates to learn tai chi as a compulsory course amid public attention on Tsinghua University's emphasis on swimming.
Xi'an Jiaotong University, with its predecessor Nanyang College founded in 1896, is a comprehensive research university with scientific focus. It added the centuries-old Chinese martial art to the curriculum in 1998.
Wang Yunbing, professor with the university's sports center, said only students who pass the 24-form tai chi course can receive diplomas, adding that the martial art is not only good physical exercise with few venue limits, but also has connotations to Chinese ancient civilization and philosophy.
Xidian University, also based in Xi'an, once required students to learn swimming but later changed it to an elective course because of venue constrains and increased number of students.
Universities in Xi'an are not alone to highlight the need for physical fitness. Tsinghua University in Beijing will soon be requiring undergraduates to pass a swimming test before receiving graduation certificates. The requirement that will take effect this year said all students except those with skin ailments and aquaphobia must pass the test.
Peking University has had swimming as one of its compulsory courses for undergraduates since 2000.
Other schools requiring swimming include Xiamen University, Sichuan University, Ningbo University, Shanghai University, Sun Yat-Sen University and South China University of Technology.
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