No weekend for China students after Japan protests

Students in two Chinese cities were ordered to attend classes over the weekend in the hopes of preventing more of the anti-Japan protests that have become rowdy in recent days.

Updated: Oct 23, 2010, 20:52 PM IST

Beijing: Students in two Chinese cities
were ordered to attend classes over the weekend in the hopes
of preventing more of the anti-Japan protests that have become
rowdy in recent days, school officials and a human rights
monitor said on Saturday.

Rumors have been circulating that students would
protest again this weekend, following several demonstrations
that vented anger with Japan for its detention of a Chinese
fishing boat captain. Lastmonth, the fishing boat collided
with Japanese patrol vessels near a chain of islands in the
East China Sea that are claimed by both countries. The dispute
quickly spiraled into a major diplomatic standoff, though
tensions have begun to subside.

Classes will be in session from elementary schools to
universities in the Sichuan province city of Deyang, said a
woman at the city education bureau. Another woman at a middle
school in the city said the move was intended to prevent
students from joining protests over the weekend.

At a middle school in the Hunan province city of
Changsha, another woman confirmed school closures there, too,
giving a similar explanation.

The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human
Rights and Democracy said students in Changsha had been
circulating Internet messages about a planned demonstration
today. There were also plans for a protest in Deyang, it said,
without elaborating.

University students in other Chinese cities were
forbidden to leave their campuses, the center said.
No anti-Japan protests were reported to have taken
place today.

Though the student protests last week began
peacefully, some spun out of control, with marchers carrying
racist banners and smashing cars and windows at Japanese
retailers. Authorities in China typically shut down protests
quickly, but the demonstrations were initially tolerated.

PTI