March 11, 2019
Location: Tianmen, Hubei
Participants: About one thousand
On March 11, 2019, about one thousand students from the Tianmen Vocational College protested in Tianmen, Hubei Province. They claimed that the college had made a mistake, causing them to be disqualified to sit for the 2019 Technique–based National Higher Education Entrance Examination (技能型高考), focused on the students’ ability to control machines.
Holding banners and chanting the slogan “I want my Higher Education Entrance Examination! Return my dream to me!” the students marched along the streets and headed towards the city government building, where the Department of Education is located. Soon after the demonstration began, however, police forces were dispatched to stop the protestors from proceeding. Riot control vehicles were sent to block their way. Students at the front were beaten by armed police when they attempted to reach the vehicles. Many of them were injured. A female student’s injuries were so painful that she was unable to get up after being knocked down.
The high school students are likely frustrated because the college has failed to enroll the students in the examination. The college has changed the “origin of student registration” (xueji) for them, but it has misled the students that it was not necessary to change the hukou as well (China’s system of household registration, by which citizens are legally linked to specific geographic areas that also have crucial implications for many aspects of their lives, including for which schools and universities they are eligible). Under the new regulation of the Hubei authorities introduced in 2019, one’s xueji must correspond to one’s hukou if one wants to take the exam in Hubei. Some students are furious as well because they have already paid the full tuition fees for three years so that they can take the examination in 2019. A legal expert explains that the college may have violated the law if it intentionally charges tuition fees for making unrealizable promises, in which case the relevant personnel can be charged with fraud.