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Divided Reactions in China as Students Wave Palestinian Flags After College Entrance Exams

During China’s national college entrance examination on June 7th, multiple exam sites witnessed students waving Palestinian flags and expressing support for Palestine after leaving the exam rooms. Some students even actively approached media outlets to voice their stance. Police officers were also seen confiscating flags from some students, though no punishments were reported.

This occurred at exam sites across multiple provinces, including Hunan, Henan, Shandong, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu and Jiangxi. Students raised Palestinian flags after exams, with some holding Chinese flags alongside. In Jiangsu, police confiscated flags from two students. At a youth music festival in Shaanxi, an audience member’s Palestinian flag was confiscated by security staff.

While no punishments of students were reported, the incidents revealed divides in Chinese society’s perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some believed that students should prioritize Chinese domestic issues, while others saw the students’ flag waving as aligning with Beijing’s official pro-Palestinian stance.

The student flag-waving sparked divergent reactions online. A plurality of online commentators expressed views that, since Chinese state-run media have been severely criticizing Western support for Israel, the students’ expression of solidarity for Palestine is merely following the Chinese government media’s “safe” (politically-correct) stance. Some speculated that the students are not acting independently but rather that there are forces orchestrating these students’ actions behind the scenes. Overseas Chinese who are critical of the Chinese government took the opportunity to mock the students, suggesting that they should go protest in Gaza themselves.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), June 10, 2024