On June 7-8, Chinese students clashed with police and security guards on the campus of a Chinese university, with some students bleeding after being attacked by authorities.
Undergraduate students at Nanjing Normal University in eastern Jiangsu province were protesting on campus, fearing that their academic degrees would be devalued as a result of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) plan to merge private colleges with vocational colleges.
Wu Hua (pseudonym), a student at Nanjing Normal University’s privately owned Zhongbei College, which has approximately 10,700 students, told the Chinese-language Epoch Times late on June 8 that “Police, assistant police, and security guards began to attack us [students].” They poured water on us, pushed us to the ground, and dragged some of us away. Some students had abrasions on their heads, while others were bleeding. ”
“They [the police] wouldn’t let us leave the campus…” Some students were detained in classrooms, “Wu explained.
According to other Chinese interviewees, a large group of police tactical unit officers entered the campus early on June 8 and beat students while spraying them with pepper spray.
In recent days, 15 private colleges in eastern China’s Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces have announced a “downgrading plan” after the CCP’s Ministry of Education ordered these colleges earlier this month to change the name of their university qualifications from a regular bachelor degree to a vocational bachelor degree, ahead of planned mergers that would initially affect 140,000 students.
Private colleges in Chinese universities charge higher tuition but are regarded as more prestigious than vocational schools. They also provide traditional bachelor’s degrees. Private college students were concerned that the mergers would reduce the value of their anticipated qualifications, reducing their chances of landing a good government job or applying for postgraduate programmes in a competitive environment.
The Jiangsu Provincial Education Department announced the suspension of the planned merger in late June. The merger has also been halted by the education departments of Zhejiang and Shandong provinces.
Authorities only worsened their repression of students in the early hours of June 8, despite the fact that the suspension had been announced and students had yet to learn of it. Later that day, the students voluntarily disbanded their protest.
Students from Zhejiang University of Technology’s Zhijiang College were the first to protest the downgrading. On June 4, they gathered inside the university campus to demand that the university keep their qualifications.
“The students of Zhijiang will not give up. According to photos posted on social media, students wrote on a banner, “We do not accept the plan to change the college’s name and our diplomas.”
Protests erupted at other universities as well. On June 5, students from Zhejiang Gongshang University’s Hangzhou Business School marched inside the university campus, yelling for the university to stop downgrading.
Students from five universities in Jiangsu Province began their protests on June 6. During the protests, the students’ parents went to the provincial education departments and requested that the CCP regime reconsider the decision.
Around 3,000 to 4,000 students from Zhongbei College joined the protest in front of a college teaching building late on June 6. Students also congregated at the north gate and in front of the library, where conditions were generally calm.
According to Wu, about 200 police officers arrived the next day and stationed themselves on campus while locking down the college. “They [the police] wouldn’t let us leave the campus, which sparked the clash,” Wu explained of the evening of June 7.
According to Wu, police assaulted students to the point of bleeding. The majority of the students remained on campus until around 4 a.m. on June 8.
While students were being beaten with police batons inside, many parents were barred from entering the campus on late June 7, according to a post by a student’s parents on the state-run Chinese news website Guancha on June 8.
According to the parents, the impact of the downgrading can be significant.
“These students’ grades aren’t bad…” I understand their dissatisfaction with the downgrading, “the parents wrote. “[The regime and colleges] did not communicate the downgrading to students and parents… [The beatings on students are] extremely vicious and violent.”
At the end of the post, the parents urged the provincial government to conduct an investigation and bring students to justice.