Many Chinese universities are organizing temporary campsites for anxious parents. Students are usually traveling hundreds of miles away from home to go to university and the first in their families to attend university, which causes great parental anxiety. Tent-sites began as a way to help families who couldn’t afford accommodation in larger cities. Concerned parents of first-year students are allowed to stay and watch their children. Campsites are equipped with air-conditioning, water, and showers.
One university, Tianjin University, has been setting up tents since 2012. Over the years, tents have garnered the nickname “tents of love.” Parents either stay in the tents to do their child’s chores or because they’re curious about their child’s new home.
The Dependent Generation
The tents of love have received criticism because of the lack of independence in Chinese children. This debate is focused on Chinese children born after the one-child policy in 1979. The policy has since been abolished in 2016.
In an interview with the New York Times first-year student, Yang Zheyu, said, “I feel safer when she’s here. I’ve never been away from home before.”
Zheyu also “had his mother at his beck and call [in the campsite], ready to bring him bowls of instant noodles, buy him soap and scrub the floor of his new room.”
Providing Family Support
One parent, Yang Luping, worked for years to give her daughter, Lu Yizhuo, the best life possible. This included sending her to boarding school as a child to make sure she would get into a good university. Rather than accompanying her daughter to university she decided to stay at the tents to give support from family. Ms. Yang later told Lu that she would have to do her own laundry now that she is in university.