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China:Seething Eve on Nankai Campus

Categories: East Asia, China, Breaking News, Education, Protest, Youth

Though it is not the first time for a crash between pass-by vehicles and students riding bicycles, in the campus of Nankai University [1], such a significant accident is unprecedented. Hundreds of restless students, 20 police cars, and a broken, battered Buick sedan marked the seething Christmas Eve of this prominent school.

On the night of 24th, December, a female student unheedingly scratched a non-campus Buick sedan when riding past the Student Activity Center. According to some witnesses, the car, in which sat 2 adults and 2 girls, suddenly turned right and therefore got the scrape, which was about 15cm long. The female driver in a black coat immediately got off and grasped the student, on a demand for apology and compensation. She presumptuously abused the student before calling the police, and the controversy continued till the arrival of the police. During the course, even with the presence of the police, the driver still cursed the student “if my kids were college students like you I’d better throw them away”, and cried “you want a punch-war? Who fears who?” She furthermore threatened “I’ll show my ID card that overawes you!” which later triggered strong indignation against her smug manner of boasting her power.

A group of angry students then circled the car. Exactly at the moment, the male owner of the car slipped away and was later back with several other men who then caught a male student that spoke for the rider and punched him. The daughter of the driver as well got hurt during the chaos. Soon the several offenders caught a chance to run away. The police failed to stop them, a miss that later came to be a trigger, but instead tried to send the beaten student into a police car. More students halted the police and managed to take the student back, who was soon sent to the hospital by am ambulance.

It was now 10 pm. Many school guards were dispatched to pacify the situation while receiving no effect, because thousands of students flooded to the scene after the self-study hour, and all were questioning why the police would let the offender escape. The students howled to require the police to explain their neglecting, and moreover, that a school governor should come out. However, no official had ever come and the police just stood idly by. The neglected students could no longer hold their anger and the long-existed grief against the overbearing drivers. The temper burst out.

The passengers and the driver were removed out of the car. Then furious students stroke the car, smashed the windshield and then even collectively turned over the Buick. Meanwhile no police dared to come up and some teachers who tried to calm the students were pushed out of the circle. The car was damaged to be a bulk of iron.

The time approached to 12 pm. The frightened driver had now remained silent. Not until then did the two headmasters come. One of them spoke through a microphone 3 promises to the students.
1. Students won’t be punished.
2. Improve the traffic condition on the campus.
3. Punish the offenders.

It was 2 pm. Swarms of students still gathered and started singing their school songs. The incident was commented by many alumni a chance for the school to regain their mettle. It was later circulated on many websites, though the related posts were soon filtrated.

However, several famous comments were preserved. They will be translated and put on here tomorrow. You can see Chinese posts about the incident here [2] (many original posts have benn blocked). The news above is written according to these posts. Pictures are from FlyingMonkey [3].

It was not the first time for a traffic conflict between bicycles and vehicles. According to students there, it was always the students involved finally apologized to the drivers and paid the bill, though the crashes happened on the campus. The accumulated anger undoubtedly fueled the 12.24 incidence.

A post from the net forum Skyline (Tianya天涯) [4] said (the original post got filtrated):


Those who drive the damn cars and earn bonanza wrongfully should first respect others before you demand others to respect you. The society allows you to get rich more quickly and take up more resources but has never allowed you to be exempt from moral obligation. You don’t deserve more than us students that ride bicycles. You shouldn’t have forgotten, in this post-revolutionary age, when we people worn out by the material interest only have the right to be obsequious to you guys, this rule remains: where there is oppression, there is resistance.


Someone questioned why students didn’t sit down and talk but had to resort to violence. The students are not unable to talk and many of them learn how to talk in school. Also, they are not unable to be polite; they have tolerated so much. But please look at the spiteful car owner, the driver that called rogues to beat the students, and those weak-kneed police. So, why did they have to employ violence? Because no one would really care about their rights without doing so!

Another post that appeared on the Nankai campus website [5] soon after the incidence while got blocked later commented:


Jing-F9556, a Buick car was battered! Students refused to keep silent!This is a growl out of rage!
On 24th, December, 2007, a historic incidence happened on Nankai campus. No matter how others would define it, I am proud of being a student of Nankai University. I am proud of my schoolmates’ courage!


Indeed, today pragmatism prevailed in China. However, America adopts pragmatism as well while the universities there never did so (worship the power). Is the margin on education quality between China and America simply lying on the quantitative results of scientific researches? It lies on that schools here get no social status they deserve! How many schools can get what they deserve even if a school like Nankai University could not? If only did Nankai fail on this, should you Tianjing City reexamine yourself?


Students got punched on their campus? So ridiculous and shameful! You have underestimated our power! Hundreds of students dared to stand in front of the police cars and halted the police from taking a single student. I am proud of you! I am proud that the bookish campus can cultivate so many students with courage and reason!