As the Communist Party tries to prevent more protests, Chinese universities have sent students home. Crowds angry by severe “zero Covid” restrictions have called for President Xi Jinping to resign, and the government believes sending students home will reduce activism. There has been no word of protests in Beijing, Shanghai, or other major cities in China this morning after the students were sent off.
Monday, anti-virus restrictions were eased as the Chinese government attempted to defuse public rage. But despite the weekend protests in eight major cities, the ruling party affirmed its “zero Covid” strategy, which has confined millions of citizens in their homes. Citizens are outraged that they are still being isolated from infection despite countries providing more freedoms and ending the Covid pandemic.
Tsinghua University, schools in Beijing, and schools in the southern province of Guangdong said they were protecting students from Covid by initiating the sendoff. But sending them home gets them off the streets. Most students live in faraway hometowns, and getting them out of the city reduces the likelihood of further protesting on campus. Universities arranged buses to take students away and said classes would continue remotely.
Following a spike in infections, authorities have ordered mass testing and imposing new controls across China. The move to disperse students may seem unusual since the party has been telling the public to avoid travel, but it makes sense to get the students out if the Chinese government wants to maintain complete control. On Monday, students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong lit candles and shouted, “Oppose dictatorship, don’t be slaves!” Students and other young citizens in China are protesting for a democratic movement.
This is an extraordinary, historic moment in China
Protests are breaking out across the country-from Beijing, to elite colleges, to other major cities, and even far flung places
Shocking to hear people chanting for Xi to step down
This is people past their breaking point @cnn pic.twitter.com/6lccNGIycT
— Selina Wang (@selinawangtv) November 27, 2022
While “zero Covid” policies have kept China’s case numbers lower than any other major country, public acceptance is dismal. People in some areas have been confined in their homes for months without access to food and medication. Promises made by the Chinese Communist Party last month to appease the public and ease quarantine rules were swiftly broken when infections spiked again. The rise in Covid cases prompted cities to tighten controls again, infuriating the public.