Around 100 students at a university in Hebei have defied a pandemic lockdown and broke out of their campus last week.
The Hebei GEO University has banned students from leaving the campus during the Labor Day break in May on grounds of COVID-19 pandemic control.
In videos posted online, dozens of students were seen in a brief standoff with campus security guards, before pushing open the gates and running out of the campus. Dozens followed suit after the guards failed to stop them.
Zhang, a teacher responsible for campus security, told The Beijing News that the school authorities did not allow students to leave the campus on their own without pre-approval during the five-day holiday. “Without interference from outside, any situation on campus can be easily controlled,” he said, adding that the students have been berated for their acts.
The videos went viral on Chinese social media and sparked a heated debate. Though some supported the university, some pointed out that Hebei is not a high-risk zone and schools in other provinces and districts did not adopt the same policy to restrict the movements of their students during the break. Some have labelled their defiance as “a battle for freedom” and compared it to the May Fourth Movement, which was also set off by student protests.
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