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Brunei
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22.9 C
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Sunday, January 29, 2023
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    University students sent home as China tries to end protests

    BEIJING (AP) – Chinese universities sent students home and police fanned out in Beijing and Shanghai to prevent more protests yesterday after crowds were angered by severe anti-virus restrictions.

    Authorities eased some controls after demonstrations in at least eight mainland cities – but showed no sign of backing off the larger “zero-COVID” strategy that confined millions of people to their homes for months at a time. Security forces detained an unknown number of people and stepped up surveillance.

    With police out in force, there was no word of protests yesterday in Beijing, Shanghai or other major cities that saw crowds gather over the weekend. Those widespread demonstrations were unprecedented since the army crushed the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement centred on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

    Tsinghua University, where students rallied, and other schools in Beijing and the southern province of Guangdong said they were protecting students from COVID-19 by sending them home. But dispersing them to far-flung hometowns also reduces the likelihood of more demonstrations.

    On Sunday, Tsinghua students were told they could go home early for the semester and that the school would arrange buses to take them to the train station or airport.

    Nine student dorms at Tsinghua were closed on Monday after some students tested positive for COVID-19, according to one who noted the closure would make it hard for crowds to gather.

    Protesters hold up blank papers and chant slogans as they march in protest in Beijing. PHOTO: AP
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