Dissatisfied with the management of China’s campus quarantine policy, students of Xi’an International Studies University held a 30 minute “collective scream” protest Sunday from their dorm room windows. The students said that during the Covid-19 pandemic they were locked onto campus with access to a supermarket selling substandard goods, which forced them to campaign for better options and standards on campus by seeking publicity for their situation.
What’s the story?
According to a state directive in March, students were not permitted to leave campus during the spring semester. In planning for the Fall reopening, universities have been given some flexibility but many have been cautious about lifting controls, including Xian International Studies University, located in Changan University City in the northwestern city of Xian. Not only have students had their freedoms curtained, but many shops surrounding campuses have gone out of business as their clientele remain stuck behind school walls.
some flexibility on movement
On Sept. 21, Xian International Studies University replied to the students’ demands by saying that it would simplify the procedure for students to apply for an entry-exit pass and improve conditions on campus. This would include setting up a temporary 24-hour shopping center and implementing more hygienic bathroom conditions. It would also bring in financial oversight of campus cafeterias, which had used the pandemic’s impact on supply chains as an excuse to up the cost of students’ meal options, and regulate delivery services that had been making the most of their captive audience.
What are people saying online?
Although one popular opinion was, “They are obstructing epidemic prevention efforts and should all be expelled,” many writing on Weibo were students and their sympathizers who sought to further highlight the poor conditions.
“Out of all the campuses in Xian Changan University City, only our school is still under closure, but as canteen prices increase, supermarkets close, queues grow for bathrooms and express delivery services, longstanding dissatisfaction has now broken out. Only undergraduates are locked up now. Faculty and staff can come and go, and we even see primary school kids running around freely.”
Students have had no other recourse but to protest, as one made clear, “We’ve been locked up on campus since we started in May. What can we do? Rebel?”
Others expressed the uselessness of locking in students while others could leave campus freely. “You can seal up a school if the services are perfect and teachers and students are all inside together, but if the leaders can go out and party and only the students are locked in, what’s the point?”
Many tried to make the point that the policy does not protect the population centers as intended. “Wind gets in, rain gets in, employees and leaders get it. Cats go out, dogs go out, only students don’t go out. And this protects students?”