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Students clash with police at PRC military campus over degree dispute

Students clash with police at PRC military campus over degree dispute

Students clashed with security forces at a People's Liberation Army artillery school in a dispute over their degrees, an overseas news report and the father of one of the students said.
Last week's clashes at the Artillery Corps Institute in the eastern city of Nanjing left about fifty students injured, including some with head wounds who were taken to a hospital, according to a report Monday from Radio Free Asia and an account by parent Liu Qijun.
More than 1,000 civilian students who paid about 50,000 yuan (US$7,232) in tuition fees, had reportedly been told they would receive only certificates of graduation rather than formal degrees, as originally promised by the institute.
"They mercilessly beat the students," said Liu Qijun, whose son Liu Gao was at the institute during the clashes"It's all too shady," the father said in a telephone interview.
Graduation certificates aren't recognized by most employers, while formal degrees are increasingly considered crucial to finding a decent posting in China's competitive job market.
Radio Free Asia, a private broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress, said the Nanjing disturbances broke out Thursday during talks between institute leaders and student representatives.
Citing unidentified students and faculty, the broadcaster said an officer with the institute pushed a female student, angering the assembled crowd, who in turn vandalized classroom buildings and dormitories.
China's entirely state-controlled media has not reported on the incident and authorities refused to comment yesterday. A man who answered the phone at the office of the Institute's administrative offices refused to answer questions about the reports or give his name, saying he wasn't authorized to comment. Phones at local police stations and Nanjing police headquarters rang unanswered.
Clashes sparked by similar disputes have broken out at other Chinese campuses, including at another artillery institute last year, despite efforts by education officials to clamp down on questionable practices at higher education institutes.
Many Chinese schools are deep in debt and unqualified students who can pay their way in offer a ready source of funding.


Updated : 2021-07-29 08:51 GMT+08:00