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.
An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft has acquired imagery data covering all of Mars, including visuals of its south pole, after circling the planet more than 1,300 times since early last year, state media reported yesterday. The Tianwen-1 successfully reached the Red Planet in February last year on the country’s inaugural mission there. A robotic rover has since been deployed on the surface as an orbiter surveyed the planet from space. Among the images taken from space were China’s first photographs of the Martian south pole, where almost all of the planet’s water resources are locked. In 2018, an orbiting probe operated by the European
QUARANTINE SHORTENED: A new protocol detailing risk levels and local policy responses would be ‘more scientific and accurate,’ a health agency spokesman said China’s revised COVID-19 guidelines, which cut a quarantine requirement in half for inbound travelers, also create a standardized policy for mass testing and lockdowns when cases of the disease flare, showing that the country still has a zero-tolerance approach to the virus. Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) solidified the position during a trip to Wuhan, where the pathogen first emerged in 2019, saying that China is capable of achieving a “final victory” over the virus. The “zero COVID-19” policy is the most effective and economic approach for the country, Xi said during the trip on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported. The first
A flight test of a hypersonic missile system in Hawaii on Wednesday ended in failure due to a problem that occurred after ignition, the US Department of Defense said, delivering a fresh blow to a program that has experienced stumbles. It did not provide details of what took place in the test, but said in an e-mailed statement that “the department remains confident that it is on track to field offensive and defensive hypersonic capabilities on target dates beginning in the early 2020s.” “An anomaly occurred following ignition of the test asset,” Pentagon spokesman US Navy Lieutenant Commander Tim Gorman said in
China is racing to quash a new COVID-19 flareup that risks spilling over into one of its most economically significant regions, raising the specter of disruptions that could roil global supply chains for solar panels, medicines and semiconductors. Infections have surged in Si County in the eastern province of Anhui, with officials reporting 287 cases for Sunday and nearly 1,000 since late last week. Authorities locked down Si and a neighboring county late last week to try and stop the virus from spreading to Jiangsu Province, the second-biggest contributor to China’s economic output and a globally important manufacturing hub for the