Tsinghua University Staff Denied Right to Protest

By Lu Jianhui, Central News Agency
June 9, 2007 Updated: June 9, 2007

About 100 staff members from Beijing and Tsinghua Universities planned to hold a march on June 3, 2007 to protest Tsinghua University Publishers for illegally seizing land in a residential area. However, they were denied permission.

Beijing police and university authorities cited “sensitive period” as the excuse for denying the university staff's application.

The Hong Kong Mingpao newspaper reported that according to Gong Xiantian, a professor from Beijing University who initiated the protest, local residents financed and built the residential district known as Lanqiying Quarters. More than 90 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, as well as hundreds of professors live in this district.

There is a piece of land approximately 86,000 square feet within Lanqiying Quarters. Originally, a multi-purpose residential building was to be built on this land, but the land was illegally transferred to Tsinghua University Publishers.

The residents have protested on many occasions, but this has not stopped the university authorities from forcibly clearing the site. This has resulted in frequent conflicts.

According to Gong, a few days ago, more than 100 university staff applied to Haidian Public Security Bureau for a march on the campus on June 3, appealing for dialogue with the authorities of the two universities. They hoped to call for an end to construction on the land and to ask that their rights as property owners be respected.

The Beijing authorities rejected their application and warned them not to “create trouble” during this “sensitive period.” [In this case “sensitive period” is a euphemism for the anniversary of Tiananmen Square Student Massacre on June 4, 1989.]