Chinese students, the young intelligentsia that once feared the Chinese government during the Tiananmen Square Protests of June Fourth, 1989, are now revolting against extreme anti-epidemic measures that threaten their basic rights. The student protest movement in Beijing seems to have inspired students from universities in Tianjin. A protest in Tianjin caused swarms of police to arrive at night, and university students also expressed publicly their frustration on several forums.

In addition, sending traditional Chinese medicine and requiring students to take it for 3 days has attracted the attention of public opinion. 

Henan requires students from epidemic areas to take traditional Chinese medicine for 3 days

According to China’s NetEase, on May 25, Wuzhi District, Jiaozuo City, Henan Province sent bags of Oriental medicine said to prevent the epidemic, along with a notice to university students returning home suggesting that all of them must take oriental medicine for 3 days and take nucleic acid tests as many times as required. 

The notice also states that “university students returning to Wuzhi from medium- and high-risk epidemic areas such as Shanghai, Jilin and Beijing must undergo a 7-day concentrated quarantine, and monitor health at home for an additional 7 days; do not gather while staying at home, and do not go to crowded places, etc.”

The information of “Wuzhi district in Henan requires students to take traditional medicine for 3 days” has been circulating online, and was listed on Weibo’s hot search list on May 26, causing netizens to ask several questions. When asked, someone commented: “Take Oriental medicine to improve immunity? They should send meat, eggs, and milk for three days (to improve immunity) instead.” 

NetEase quoted people’s online comments, “What are the Chinese medicinal herbs in medicine? Why do you need medicine when you’re not sick?” 

NTDTV cited netizens’ suggesting that leaders should take the medicine first. They said: “Party members should take the lead and take the medicine for at least 9 days”; “suggest that officials in Wuzhi district all take for three days as an example”. 

After witnessing the attention and doubts from the citizens, Wuzhi mayor’s staff of the hotline responded to the media, saying, “It is not compulsory to take oriental medicine for 3 days. Moreover, it is not only for students but also for all those returning home. This is government welfare and can play a role as a precaution. When the government introduced this policy, it was certain that these preventive drugs would not harm the body.”

However, people are still buzzing about it, saying, “the hotline workers said it’s not mandatory (to take the medicine), but the announcement said that you must take full Chinese medicine for 3 days, which is nonsense!” 

According to NTDTV, many people question the fact that the authorities are spending taxpayers’ money, and ask whether certain drug companies can make a profit after this announcement. They commented: “Businessmen all know that the deal between the government and companies can easily lead to corruption… Without supervision, local officials can take advantage of their power for personal gain. So they need to publish the bidding process And how many companies are involved in it.” 

Tianjin students up in arms protesting 

Since the outbreak of the disease occurred in Tianjin in January, many universities in the city have been closed. After several universities in Beijing successfully defended their rights, Tianjin University also started a large-scale protest. 

On the evening of May 26 (local time), a video of Tianjin University students protesting was posted on China’s internet. In the video, a large number of students gathered in the schoolyard to protest the school closure, while chanting slogans such as “Down with officialdoms” and “Down with formalism”. There was a video showing the sign “Tai Lei Road”, showing the protest taking place inside Tianjin University’s campuses. 

There is also a video circulating on the Internet showing a large number of police cars rushing to the protest site. In the video, at least dozens of police motorcycles are patrolling the street at night. Road signs show the police vehicles are heading towards the Tianjin University campus. 

Another online poster shows Tianjin University students still protesting on May 28. The style and appeal of the poster is similar to the ones of some universities a few days before in Beijing. They also asked the schools to clarify the method and timing of the final exams, as well as the time of summer vacation. 

According to NTDTV, on May 23 and May 24, students from the University of Political Science and Law of China and Beijing Normal University protested in turn, demanding clarification on the method and time of the final exam and granting students permission to return home. The protests led to a Compromise of Government, allowing students to go home. The struggle at Tianjin University seems to have been inspired by Beijing students).

At the same time as Tianjin University students gathered to protest, they also pointed out online about skyrocketing prices on campuses, the school’s use of offline final exams to prevent students from going home, the chaos in the epidemic prevention and control management, and the arbitrary entry and exit of faculty staff and family members, while students are strictly controlled and are not allowed to go out. 

Tianjin University closed for more than 4 months

According to NTDTV, when the epidemic broke out in Tianjin on January 8, many universities in Tianjin went into lockdown, and students were not allowed to leave campuses. After the winter break, the school has been closed until now. 

On January 28, UDN  reported, Tianjin University suddenly ordered more than 30,000 students not to return to their hometowns and “welcome the new year on the spot” on campus, which once caused public outrage. 

In early April, a student from Tianjin University asked a question on the Zhihu Q&A website: “When will Tianjin University lift its blockade? How do colleges get back to normal? This post has continued to attract attention and discussion.  

Some students responded that the lockdown had been going on for months and that there had not been any positive cases of Covid 19, but the school remained closed. 

Students also complain about the school’s unscrupulous canteen and the black traders: the meat in the school canteen stinks and continues to be consumed. Strawberries in the fruit shop were rotting and sold for 13.8 yuan per pound. Students’ complaints are also ignored. 

One student commented: “Disappointed with the management of this school, the city education committee and the school refused to take responsibility. They don’t treat students as human, this is such a trashy school, quickly graduate! Only university students get Covid 19, and the teachers’ children freely go in and out of the school, running happily on campus. University students pay more for more nucleic acid tests, but that money finally gets into the officials’ pockets.”

Some students revealed that, after a long time of being locked down, some students around them showed signs of losing control of their emotions. 

Nankai University students are also protesting

Nankai University is just a wall away from Tianjin University, students have also gone online to complain, ask for help, and launched various forms of protest on campus. 

Photos posted online show students hanging large slogans on-campus buildings, mocking Nankai University’s “social isolation.” 

There are also students spray-painting the line “I want to be a student of free college” on the campus’ wall. On May 4, some students also printed petitions protesting the continued closure of the school and taped them inside the school. 

As early as the end of April, some students from Nankai asked questions on the Zhihu Q&A site: “How do you feel about the closure of Nankai University? Only Nankai students are locked down, staff and their families can go in and out whenever they want. What is the meaning of this closure?”

The students accused the school (Nankai University) of treating students “like a virus” and expressed strong opposition to “formalism.”

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.