Administrators at an elite Beijing university have backed down from plans to further tighten restrictions on students as part of China’s “zero COVID-19” strategy after a weekend protest at the school, students said on Tuesday.
Graduate students at Peking University staged the protest on Sunday over the school’s decision to erect a sheet-metal wall to keep them further sequestered on campus, while allowing faculty to come and go freely.
Discontent had already been simmering over regulations prohibiting them from ordering in food or having visitors, and daily COVID-19 testing.
A citywide lockdown of Shanghai and expanded restrictions in Beijing in the past few weeks have raised questions about the economic and human costs of China’s strict virus controls, which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has said is a success compared with other major nations.
People have grumbled privately or online, while some Shanghai residents have clashed with police, volunteers and others trying to enforce lockdowns and take people to quarantine centers.
Many of the Peking University students protesting outside a dormitory took smartphone videos as Chen Baojian (陳寶劍), the deputy secretary of the university’s CCP committee, admonished them through a megaphone to end the protest and talk with him one-on-one.
“Please put down your mobile phones, protect Peking University,” Chen said, to which one student yelled: “Is that protection? How about our rights and interests?”
The crowd of about 200 clapped and cheered as a half dozen protesters broke through the sheet-metal barrier behind Chen.
The phone videos were shared on social media, but removed by government censors.
Some supportive comments remained, although many were also taken down, while some videos remain on Twitter, which is blocked in China.
“Peking University students are great,” one person wrote on Chinese social media. “Fight for rights. A single spark can start a prairie fire.”
Peking University is among a handful of elite institutions that have played prominent roles in political movements including the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution and the student-led 1989 pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square that were crushed by the army.
Following Sunday’s protest, university leaders met with student representatives and agreed to remove the sheet-metal barrier, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
One graduate student who took part in the protest, who did not want her name published due to possible repercussions, said that the wall had been taken down a short time later, and that other concessions were made.
“We achieved our goals Sunday night,” the student said.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) removed former minister of foreign affairs Qin Gang (秦剛) from his post after an investigation concluded that he had conducted an affair and fathered a child while serving as ambassador to the US, the Wall Street Journal reported. Top officials were told in August that a CCP inquiry into Qin uncovered “lifestyle issues,” the newspaper reported yesterday, citing people familiar with the situation that it did not describe. That phrase usually means sexual misbehavior of some type in the parlance of Chinese officialdom. Two of the people said the affair led to the birth of a child in
GUNNED DOWN: The Canadian PM said there were credible allegations that India was connected to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey on June 18 India yesterday dismissed allegations that its government was linked to the killing of a Sikh activist in Canada as “absurd,” expelling a senior Canadian diplomat and accusing Canada of interfering in India’s internal affairs. It came a day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described what he called credible allegations that India was connected to the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, an advocate of Sikh independence from India who was gunned down on June 18 outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia, and Canada expelled a top Indian diplomat. “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a
LOST BATTLE: The Varroa mite, which Canberra has called the ‘most serious pest’ to face bees, would cause serious economic damage, an ecologist said Australia yesterday abandoned its fight to eradicate the destructive Varroa mite, an invasive parasite responsible for the collapse of honeybee populations across the planet. Desperate to keep Varroa out of the country, authorities have destroyed more than 14,000 infected beehives since the tiny red-brown pest was first detected north of Sydney in June last year. The government said its US$64 million eradication plan could not stop the mite from spreading, and the country’s beekeepers should now prepare to live with the incursion. “The recent spike in new detections have made it clear that the Varroa mite infestation is more widespread and has
SECURITY: Wang met with the US national security adviser in Malta over the weekend, with the US side noting the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) yesterday headed to Russia for security talks after two days of meetings with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan over the weekend in Malta. China’s top foreign policy official will be in Russia until Thursday for a round of China-Russia strategic security consultations, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a brief statement. The US and China are at odds over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China has refrained from taking sides in the war, saying that while a country’s territory must be respected, the West needs to consider Russia’s security concerns about NATO’s