Racial tension spread to Beijing today as about 200 Chinese students marched to protest an alleged attack on a Chinese woman in her dormitory by an African student. Posters calling for increased security on campus appeared at Beijing University.
The protest march and a subsequent class boycott marked the third time since Dec. 24 that tensions between Chinese and Africans have provoked fights or demonstrations in China.
Last week, thousands of Chinese in Nanking demonstrated against African students following a Christmas Eve fight that began when the Africans tried to bring Chinese women into a dormitory.
Africans Boycott Classes
In Hangzhou, 56 African students have been boycotting classes for a week. They say Chinese authorities have accused them of having AIDS.
In Beijing today, Chinese students at the Beijing Languages Institute held a two-hour march, carrying banners saying, “Hooligans Go Home,” “Protect Women’s Rights,” and “We Demand a Safe Campus,” eight participants said.
Chinese students said 2,000 students later boycotted classes.
The students said they wanted their school to fix locks on dormitory doors, provide better lighting and upgrade security. They said they wanted foreign students “to respect Chinese customs.”
The alleged incident in Beijing occurred early Sunday when a Chinese woman went to the bathroom and was accosted by an African student in her third-floor dormitory hall, Chinese and foreign students said.
A roommate of the woman said the African followed her classmate into the bathroom and asked her to leave the building with him.
To buy time, she agreed and told him to wait downstairs.
The African then sneaked into the woman’s room, her roommate said.
When the woman returned, the African attempted to grab her but she screamed and ran down the stairs. On the second floor she slipped on broken glass and severely cut her leg, Chinese students said.
“I saw him run after her,” said the roommate, who was awakened by her roommate’s cries. “She was yelling, ‘Save me! Save me!’ ”
African students at the languages institute said they did not know exactly what happened on Sunday morning. They said they believed the Chinese were using the incident as an excuse to oppose relationships between foreign men and Chinese women.