University students protest COVID restrictions at top Beijing institution

University students protest COVID restrictions at top Beijing institution

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A weekend protest at an elite Beijing university has forced administrators to abandon plans to further tighten COVID-19 restrictions on its students. 

Peking University’s graduate students organized Sunday’s peaceful protest after the school made the decision to put up a metal wall to keep them on campus, while also allowing faculty to enter and exit freely. 

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Students were also upset that they had been prohibited from ordering food or having visitors.

Protesters broke through the sheet-metal barrier, sharing phone videos and photos over social media before being removed by government censors. 

Some videos remain on Twitter, which is blocked in China. 

According to the South China Morning Post, university leaders met with students and agreed to remove the wall. 

A graduate student told The Associated Press that other concessions were made to the students, including organizing free supermarket deliveries. 

Peking University has previously played prominent roles in political movements, including the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution and student-led 1989 pro-democracy protests.

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All this comes as more Beijing residents were confined to their homes on Tuesday, in an effort to control an outbreak of cases. 

Seven adjoining areas in the Chinese capital’s Fengtai district were designated lockdown zones for at least one week.

The area is close to a wholesale food market that was closed indefinitely.

Officials have resisted sweeping lockdown measures, while China’s “zero-COVID” strategy has drawn some criticism. 

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Harsh quarantines in Shanghai led to global criticism as residents reported shortages of food and critical medicine. Now, China’s largest city is slowly easing its restrictions. 

The nation recorded 1,100 new cases on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Julia Musto is a reporter for Fox News Digital. You can find her on Twitter at @JuliaElenaMusto.

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