Can I go to university or get a scholarship in China if I have hepatitis B?

Microscopic view of hepatitis-B-infected liver cells; image by Nephron

For a long time, blood tests for the hepatitis B virus (HBV) were a routine part of all university health checks, whether for enrollment or employment. Thankfully that came to an end in 2010 when the Ministry of Education of China issued a paper forbidding hepatitis B virus checking for any school enrollment, including kindergartens and pre-school education centers.

The paper banned HBV virus markers and HBV DNA testing, so if you are hepatitis B carrier, you should theoretically have no problem getting enrolled at university in China. However, school enrollment health checks retain tests for liver function, and you could still be denied a placement if it is found that your liver is functioning abnormally. In the event of a positive result, a further blood test will be carried out to ensure that no errors were made during the initial testing.

Prior to the issue of the 2010 paper, hepatitis B carriers were not allowed to study the following majors: 

  1. Pre-school Education
  2. Navigation Technology
  3. Aviation Technology
  4. Pastry Making
  5. Western Cuisine
  6. Cooking and Nutrition
  7. Cooking
  8. Food Science and Engineering

All of these courses are now back on the menu regardless of a person’s hepatitis B status. However, three majors/industries remain off-limits to anyone with hepatitis B, regardless of their liver function, and applicants must agree to testing before they will be accepted on a course/job:

  1. Job applicants for Special Police Unit
  2. Students for Civil Aviation Pilot major
  3. Job applicants for blood testing stations

In summary, then, as long as your liver functions normally, you can apply for almost anything in China, except the three listed above, without being automatically denied. Any organizations demanding that students or job applicants go in for hepatitis B testing are illegal.

If schools violate the rule, the enrollment office and the people responsible will be punished, as will the hospitals or health check centers performing the tests – the latter may even be banned from being allowed to perform health checking services in the future. 

Of course, implementation of the rule may not be universal across China, regardless of what is strictly demanded by the law. As a result, it might be a good idea to contact the university before applying to confirm whether or not they demand HBV checks. 

Scholarships are granted based on student’s academic performance and ability, and health is not taken into consideration at all.


Useful Chinese words and phrases 

乙肝病毒携带者 yǐgān bìngdú xiédài zhě Hepatitis B carrier
肝功能 gān gōngnéng Liver function
奖学金 jiǎngxuéjīn Scholarship
入学 rùxué Enrollment
入职 rùzhí Employment recruitment
特警 tèjǐng Special Police Unit
民航飞行员 mínháng fēixíngyuán Civil pilot
血站 xuězhàn Blood station
航海技术 hánghǎi jìshù Navigation Technology
飞行技术 fēixíng jìshù Aviation Technology
学前教育 xuéqián jiàoyù Pre-school Education
面点工艺 miàndiǎn gōngyì Pastry making
西餐工艺 xīcān gōngyì Western cuisine
烹饪 pēngrèn Cooking
营养 yíngyǎng Nutrition
食品科学与工程 shípǐn kēxué yǔ gōngchéng   Food Science and Engineering


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6 Responses to Can I go to university or get a scholarship in China if I have hepatitis B?

  • hi i am ibrahim form bangladesh , i have hepatities b positive i can apply now china uneversity ?

  • Sir

    You wrote about HBV testing has been banned in health centers and hospitals in China for candidates to get a work permit in China. In this regard, is HBV testing still included in the current health check up form, BG-14, used in China because I know HBV testing is no longer listed in the health check up forms used in many countries.

    I thank you in advance for your comment.

    Yang Su

  • Hi, thank you so much for sharing this piece of info. As I am myself a Hep B carrier, I am at least now feeling much relieved because I learn that as long as my liver function test is normal, I can gain admission to Chinese universities. My question is, Hep B carriers need to do regular follow up in hospitals for testing their liver function. I have been doing so all this while in my own country. When I go China, I suppose I need to bring my medical records along with me. Will Chinese hospitals having any problem accepting the medical record from my country? Approximately how much am I going to be charged? Thank you.

  • hello everyone
    my younger brother get tianjin university scholarship for chemical engineering 4 year course, but he is Hepatitis B carrier and his liver function test report is SGPT/ALT – 76 (normal value 30-65) and SGOT/AST- 77 (normal value 15-37), and he is healthy in normal lifestyle even no FIVER and no symptoms at all, can he get residency permit in china…????
    plz reply soon….

    • Hi Yetndera. We are sorry to hear about your brother’s problem. Unfortunately, your brother’s tests  indicate that his liver function is abnormal; when this happens, the liver’s function is impaired considerably and the virus is also active and more contagious. The good news is that the reports suggest that his readings are not too high compared to the ideal values, so a bit of medication will hopefully help his liver recover quickly.

      With this test report he won’t be able to obtain a residency permit in China, he should still be able to go to school under the same scholarship when he is cured. Tell him to talk to both the school and scholarship providers.

      All of this may seem strange to you – he could seem perfectly healthy and demonstrate no symptoms at all, but this is rather common among HBV patients, even those whose livers have been badly harmed by the virus. Whether it’s to get a residence permit or just for his own health, he should go get medical treatment at a hospital as soon as possible. 

      We wish him good health and good luck!

  • It is fairly easy to find information on HBV but almost nothing on HCV (I have no liver disease but test positive for antgen). Why is HCV even tested for?
    The skinny on the topic is this: if you apply for a teaching job from overseas you will be asked to get a med check at a local hospital. Mine (in Japan) costs 300 USD and they tested for and posted everything. I don’t have HBV but I do have HCV antigen. So it is sent to an FAO who is NOT a doctor and who may or may not be hysterical about diseases. In the end, she and her probably her boss (the dean or head) and most certainly the public officer will be the first ones to decide whether they want to send you the Work Permit and importantly, the Invitation Letter (which from all I can tell is arbitrary).
    I’m waiting for an answer as of this writing.
    So you see, in the end, whatever the government says, it the employer who will have first discretion.

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