50 Students Still Confront Chinese Aides
A confrontation between at least 50 foreign students, primarily Africans, and Chinese authorities continued Sunday at an isolated suburban guest house, educational officials said.
A spokesman for Hehai University, scene of a Christmas Eve clash that ultimately led to the continuing guest-house standoff, said Sunday morning that the school’s president was scheduled to visit the facility later to talk with the students from Hehai who were still being held there.
“We want to talk to the students one by one,” the university’s president, Liang Ruiju, told a British reporter.
Some Taken to Campuses
Some foreign students removed from the guest house Saturday were returned to their campuses Sunday, after being put up overnight at another location, according to one of the students, a woman studying at Nanjing Pharmaceutical University who declined to provide any additional information.
It was unclear whether students from any universities other than Hehai remained at the guest house. About 20 students were known to have returned to Nanjing campuses, four were officially reported to be in police custody, and the whereabouts of about 60 additional students remained unknown to Western reporters in Nanjing.
A provincial government spokesman declined Sunday to reveal their location but said they were safe.
Roadblock Stops Reporters
Police at a roadblock about a quarter-mile from the guest house turned reporters away late Sunday afternoon. Those inside the guest house are not being permitted to telephone out, and reporters trying to telephone in are not permitted to speak with the students.
Some students forcibly taken from the guest house Saturday were bused back to Hehai and Nanjing Polytechnical universities that evening. Several of them assumed that all students had been taken out of the facility. These students could not witness everything, however, because the buses they rode were among the first to leave.
One of these students said Sunday that police were still trying to force some students onto vehicles when his bus pulled out of the compound.
“They moved in, they surrounded us, they beat us and took us away,” a student from Gabon said Sunday. “They were broadcasting things on loudspeakers--they said relations between African and China have always been good and that black people are their friends. It was bizarre--all this flattery and all this violence.”
Gatekeeper Was Injured
A Hehai University gatekeeper was seriously injured in the Christmas Eve clash, according to Chinese authorities. The incident was followed by rock-throwing attacks by Chinese students on foreign dormitories housing Africans and then by street demonstrations demanding quick punishment of the African students believed to have struck the gatekeeper during the brawl.
The city-run Xinhua Daily issued a call for calm Sunday with an article urging Chinese students to be orderly, rational, calm and confident that the Christmas Eve incident “definitely will be handled justly according to law.”