China Wednesday witnessed a sight that is considered rare under the governance of the Chinese Communist Party. Students of the Nanjing Normal University’s Zhongbei College came together to carry out a mass protest against a new reform believed to devaluate students’ degrees. The students held the 55-year-old principal of the institution hostage for more than 30 hours on the campus.

The new reform aimed at merging the undergraduate colleges with various vocational institutes in the province. Students of the Zhongbei college feared that this merger would be downgraded. Vocational institutions in China are assumed to be less prestigious. Students preparing for China’s extremely competitive job market were worried that this merger would hinder their efforts to land a good job.

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According to eye-witnesses, the protest site saw more than 3000 students and close to 400 police officials. According to the videos and images uploaded on social media platforms, the Chinese Police cracked down on the protest using violent measures such as arms, pepper spray, and batons. Many students were detained and arrested using law enforcement.

The videos circulating on the internet, including violent images of the crackdown of the protest (beating and dragging of the students by the police officials), were immediately taken down by the authorities. Authorities also blocked all the hashtags related to the protest. The incident comes after the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest that remains off-the-books of a ruthless and violent Chinese history.