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Chinese university students sent home amid Covid protests


BEIJING: Chinese Universities Are Sending Students Home As Judgment Communist Party tighten anti-virus controls and try to contain more protests after crowds angered by severe “Covid-free” restrictions called for the President Xi Jinping to resign in the biggest show of dissent in decades.
When the police were in force, there were no protests on Tuesday in Beijing, Shanghai or other major cities.
Some anti-virus restrictions were eased on Monday in a possible attempt to assuage public anger following weekend protests in at least eight cities. But the ruling party has affirmed its “Covid-free” strategy, which has kept millions of people indoors in an effort to isolate every infection.
Tsinghua University, Xi’s alma mater, where students protested on Sunday, and other schools in Beijing and southern Guangdong province said they were protecting students from Covid-19. But dispersing them to remote rural areas also reduces the likelihood of more activism following last weekend’s school protests.
Some universities arrange buses to take students to train stations. They said classes and final exams will be conducted online.
Beijing Forestry University said on its website: “We will arrange for students who are ready to return to their homeland. It said all faculty members and their students have tested negative for the virus.
Authorities ordered mass testing and imposed other control measures in areas across China after the number of infections spiked. But the move to disperse students is unusual at a time when many cities are advising the public to avoid travel and imposing controls on movement.
In Hong Kong, about 50 students from mainland China protested Monday at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to show support for people on the mainland. They lit candles and chanted, “No PCR test but freedom!” and “Resist the dictator, don’t be a slave!”
The gathering and a similar one in Hong Kong’s business district were the biggest demonstrations on Chinese territory in more than a year under rules imposed to crush a pro-democracy movement.
“Zero Covid” has helped keep China’s number of infections lower than that of the United States and other major countries. But public acceptance has eroded as people in some areas have been quarantined at home for up to four months and say they don’t have reliable access to food and medicine.
The Chinese Communist Party promised last month to ease disruption by changing quarantine and other rules. However, the spike in infections has led cities to tighten controls, disappointing the public.
Most of the protesters complained about the excessive restrictions, but some turned their anger on Mr. Xi, China’s most powerful leader since at least the 1980s. In a confirmed video Illustrated by the Associated Press, a crowd in Shanghai on Saturday chanted: “Xi Jinping! Step down! CCP! Step down!”
On Monday, the Beijing city government announced that it would no longer set up gates to block entrances to apartment complexes where cases were detected.
It did not mention last week’s fire in Urumqi that left at least 10 people dead. That raised angry questions online about whether firefighters or victims trying to escape were blocked by locked doors or other anti-virus controls.
Urumqi and another city in the northwest Xinjiang region have announced that markets and other businesses in areas considered low risk of infection will reopen this week and car services will reopen. Public buses will reopen.

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