Chinese undergraduate students from Nanjing Normal University’s Zhongbei College held their college principal hostage on Sunday during a protest against plans to merge Nanjing college with a vocational institute.
The protests give voice to the student’s fears of having their academic qualifications be devalued, as they prepare for China’s very competitive job market, because of the planned merging of their college with a vocational institute which is seen as less prestigious.
The protesting students detained the 55-year-old principal on campus for more than 30 hours from Sunday onwards.
Danyang city police suppressed the campus protests on Tuesday.
“To uphold campus order … public security organs took necessary measures in accordance with the law to remove the trapped person, and (the injured) were immediately sent to hospital for treatment,” said a statement from the Danyang city police.
Social media users have posted photos of police using batons and pepper spray on the protesters and one female undergrad bleeding from the head.
“We were not arrested. The school hired auxiliary police who injured, beat, pepper-sprayed, threatened, and verbally abused students,” said one student who withholds names for safety.
“It thoroughly deceives and conceals the truth from students. That’s why students spontaneously organized (the protests),” added the student.
The Jiangsu education authorities suspended late Monday evening the merger plans originally announced in March on all six colleges in Jiangsu province.