Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China, implementing the draconian “zero-COVID” policy in many places has caused public discontent. In Shanghai, under the leadership of Li Qiang, China’s next prime minister, a “humanitarian crisis” was triggered by the city lockdown. The latest news from the Chinese internet says that students of Tongji University in Shanghai are not satisfied with the school’s transfer of negative students to “fang cang,” or square cabins, for quarantine, and a collective protest broke out.

China Digital Times reported on Tuesday, October 25 a 4th-floor student of Tongji University said a student in another dormitory in the building was found infected with COVID-19. Because there was no evidence to find anyone who had “close contact” with the infected student, the school asked all students in the dormitory to move to square cabins for centralized quarantine.

According to RFA, a student sent a message to the university staff, who replied that “it is not necessary to go to the square cabin.” However, because the college previously informed students they were going to a hotel but finally took them to the square cabin.” The students generally thought that “the cabin situation is terrible. Therefore, the dormitory students of the university made three requests: “One, is to refuse to enter the cabins; Two, is to hope that the locality will control the pandemic and have direct dialogue with students; Three, is to hope that the school will control the pandemic and quickly give convincing answers to students regarding ‘Do they need to move? When do they have to? Where do they go? And assign students a specific person in charge.'”

According to China Digital Times, students participating in the protests posted on the internet: “We don’t want to cause trouble, we support, understand and cooperate. We just want to make certain requests clear, expect respect and be treated fairly.”

Due to the strict management and control of colleges and universities across China since the pandemic outbreak, many student movements have arisen in urban colleges and universities. In recent months, the 2nd Foreign Language Institute in Beijing, Peking University, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing Normal University, Tianjin University, and many universities in Zhengzhou have repeatedly announced that students gathered to protest the lockdowns and strict controls at universities.

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