By Li Ying
Tsinghua University yesterday issued an official denial that they were connected to high-priced packs of cigarettes, which purported to commemorate their 100th anniversary.
The cigarette packets were on sale priced at 10,000 yuan ($1,587) at an airport in Hubei Province, according to a photograph a Web user posted on his microblog this week. The packaging said they were produced for the prestigious university's anniversary in April last year.
"There is no basis in this," Tsinghua said on their website, "the university never authorised any company or enterprise to produce such cigarettes."
The sky-high priced tobacco brand is "First Class Huanghelou," which is often sold for up to 2,000 yuan in stores.
A customer service employee from Hubei China Tobacco Industry Company, producer of Huanghelou, confirmed that the company had made the commemorative packs.
But the cigarettes were not priced, as they were not for sale, according to an online media report yesterday.
Tsinghua staff and students said they had no idea the university was connected to such high-priced cigarettes.
A Tsinghua staff member, who worked on the anniversary celebrations, said that he was unaware of the cigarettes.
"The university produced many kinds of souvenirs to celebrate its anniversary, most of which were priced at dozens of yuan," said Liu Ruoqing, a Tsinghua physics major.
The tobacco company may have wanted to hype its products by selling it at such a high price," he remarked.
"In any case, a pack of cigarettes should not be sold at such a high price," an employee with the China Tobacco Bureau told the Global Times yesterday.
"It's common for institutions and companies to cooperate with tobacco or alcohol producers to make commemorative products for important occasions," an industry insider told the Global Times yesterday, "but the government doesn't allow them to be sold publicly."