The protest of several thousand students at the Nanjing Industry Technical School (NITS) in China’s Jiangsu Province last Sunday has caused the school administration to start the summer break early this year.
The students’ discontentment, according to Internet messages posted by the students taking part in the protest, stems from the fact that they have not been granted college diplomas as promised.
In a student’s blog post on June 22, the student said when they were admitted to NITS’s five-year program the administration told them that these were college diploma programs—the graduates would be granted diplomas at graduation. But it turns out to be a lie, the message says.
“The school said that completing the five-year program would lead to a college diploma, but now we only get a secondary technical school diploma. How could we not be angry. [The school] admits students in the guise of a college but in the end offers only a secondary school diploma!”
According to another student’s blog post, some students in the three-year program also have the understanding that theirs is a diploma program. With the heading “Who will give our youth back to us? Who will give our diplomas back to us?” they student lamented that he has wasted three years of his life and over thirty thousand RMB (around US$4,700).
In the same message, the student asked his fellow-students to remain calm and not to become too emotional.
The large crowd of students last Sunday night was first confronted by public security police. In the midst of the chaos, some students broke glass windows and tore down doors of some of the campus buildings. Finally, the protest was ended with the arrival of over 200 riot police.
The students were beaten up not only by the police but also by officials of the Education Department, according to a student’s blog post.
The same message says that the school announced immediately after the incident that the summer break would begin on June 22.
This is the second large-scale clash between students and the public security in Nanjing in two months.
On May 18, several vendors, who are also students at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics, were beaten by the city management officers who patrolled an evening market near the university. The fainting of one of the vendors, a female student, as a result of the beating prompted several hundred students to rush to the scene. The students blocked several main streets nearby to stop the officers from leaving. In the end, the incident was swiftly suppressed by the local police.
There have hardly been any reports in the Chinese media about either the May 10 incident or the NITS protest. Related blog postings were also quickly removed from China’s Internet.