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Tiananmen Square

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From: The Socialist issue 581, 27 May 2009: Protest at MPs' sleaze

Search site for keywords: China - Students - Police - University - Tiananmen Square

Nanjing college students in clashes with police

THOUSANDS OF students fought with police in the southern Chinese city of Nanjing after the city's administration officers beat up student vendors. The incident occurred on Monday evening 18 May, at a time of high alert for the 'communist' authorities ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 4 June Massacre - the events in Tiananmen Square 1989.

Five students, including one female student from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, were reportedly beaten up by Nanjing City Management [Bureau], trying to clear the area in front of the university. This led to a street-blocking demonstration by thousands of students from that university.

A bloody clash between thousands of students and riot police reportedly ensued, continuing into Tuesday morning. 30 students were injured, and one police car was smashed up.

The police station in Nanjing's Jiangning Development Zone and the security office at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics confirmed the incident for the Information Centre for Human Rights in Hong Kong.

The entire incident seems to have been provoked by aggressive tactics from both the City Management Bureau and, later, by the police. Photographs posted on the internet and published in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) show student protesters holding up placards in English as well as Chinese with the slogan, 'Non-violent and non-cooperation', inspired by the US civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King.

Authorities edgy

Underlining just how sensitive student protests are in this pre- 4 June period, leaders of the provincial government arrived at the university on Tuesday, to ensure the protests are nipped in the bud. Students said that all of the professors have been mobilised to prevent another street demonstration.

As many as 100 riot police personnel were standing by at the entrance to the university. This was the second incident of public student unrest in less than ten days in China.

On 7 May, hundreds of students at Zhejiang University staged a demonstration along the roads of Hangzhou following the killing of a fellow student by a speeding driver. The incident attracted huge interest on the internet.

While the trigger for these incidents does not at first sight appear to be political, both cases show the tense situation that exists on campuses across China as university costs soar, burdening many families with years of indebtedness, while job prospects for graduates are evaporating as a result of the severe economic crisis.


Tiananmen 1989, Seven Weeks that Shook the World

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This book (96-pages) republishes Stephen Jolly's eyewitness account of the massive student-led protests of April-June 1989 against autocracy and corruption, with new articles by Vincent Kolo and Chen Mo.

The book can be ordered online from

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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