China questions warning to Duke students to use English

An entrance to the main Duke University campus is seen in Durham, N.C., Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. The University's medical school has issued an apology a

An entrance to the main Duke University campus is seen in Durham, N.C., Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. The University's medical school has issued an apology a

This Jan. 28, 2019 photo shows the entrance to the main Duke University campus in Durham, N.C. The Duke University professor and administrator who spa

This Jan. 28, 2019 photo shows the entrance to the main Duke University campus in Durham, N.C. The Duke University professor and administrator who spa

Michael Schoenfeld, vice president of public affairs and government relations at Duke University makes comments during an interview on campus in Durha

Michael Schoenfeld, vice president of public affairs and government relations at Duke University makes comments during an interview on campus in Durha

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese government spokesman has questioned the appropriateness of an email sent by a Duke University medical school administrator warning Chinese students to speak in English.

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday it would be abnormal if a Chinese university banned students from speaking English.

Duke has moved quickly to offer apologies, launch an investigation and reassure a core group of graduate scholars after the email raised an outcry on and off campus.

Thousands of people in China commented on social media. Some called it racial discrimination and said Chinese universities should ban speaking English.

The administrator's message came at a time when elite U.S. universities are trying to remain attractive to top international students despite negative rhetoric toward foreigners by President Donald Trump and other politicians.