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The national Chinese laws on teaching, however, do not set any height requirements for teachers.|
“This is discrimination. If this happened in the United States, she could get 300 million US Dollars’ worth of compensation,” some commenters responded on Weibo.
Local authorities told CNWest that exceptions on the height requirement policy are occasionally made; in 2012, for example, a student who did not meet the height requirement did obtain the teaching qualification.
Thanks to the heightened media attention on the issue, Shaanxi officials have since decided to make an exception for Li. They reportedly plan to remove the height restriction starting from next year.
The sudden change in policy, however, has not made commenters on social media less annoyed. “If Deng Xiaoping were alive, he would fire the entire Shaanxi Bureau of Education,” one user said. (Former Chinese communist leader Deng Xiaoping’s height is listed as 150cm/4.9ft).
There are many Weibo users who question the relation between a person’s height and their job a teacher: “If she is short, she can wear high heels. Does height really matter to become a teacher?”
It is not the first time that height discrimination in China makes the news. A 2015 Foreign Affairs report suggests that, despite being discriminatory, many employers in China insist on setting height requirements as a condition to employment.
The majority of netizens sympathize with Li: “This is hurtful. It is not easy to be short, why would this society make it more difficult for her?”
Other people wonder why appearances would be more important than one’s psyche: “They never have requirements when it comes to people’s morals and their mental health. It is disgusting to have these requirements for a person’s height.”