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Peaceful protests taking place on several university campuses throughout China over the government's protracted Covid-19 regulations are being reported on social media since late November 2022. According to AP News, at least 10 universities decided to seal off their campus and send students back home in an effort to pre-empt any further protests, while students from Tsinghua and Beijing Forestry Universities have been reporting that university officials are actively encouraging them to leave the campuses and dormitories before the normal semester ends by offering them free transport, arranged buses, online classes and postponed exams.
The protests first broke out in the aftermath of a fire in Urumqi region, killing at least 10 people. The incident prompted a heated debate on social media on whether the quarantine measures lead to this outcome, as the apartment block in question had been sealed as part of the Covid-19 measures. The ensuing widespread opposition held the government accountable for the harsh ‘zero-covid’ policies in the country, which involve constant testing, quarantine and lockdowns.
In response, human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch called the Chinese Government to respect citizens’ right to peaceful demonstrations and assembly and condemned the arbitrary detentions and violence exerted by the security forces. Sharing their position, ACA condemns violence at Chinese university campuses and invites officials to respect university autonomy and right to peaceful protest.
For more information, see the University World News article.