SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: November 08, 2018

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Peking University | Renmin University

Region & Country:Eastern Asia | China

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 8, 2018, Chinese police reportedly detained two students participating in a peaceful protest outside an Apple store in Beijing.

The students were reportedly protesting Apple’s alleged use of student interns as workers in their suppliers’ factories. A group of ten students from Renmin and Peking universities stood outside the Apple store holding signs and taking photos. Police on the scene told the students that they were disturbing the peace and asked the students to show their IDs. When students refused, police reportedly detained two of the students.

As of this report, the students’ names and information indicating their whereabouts or any charges brought against them have not been disclosed.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary detention of students in apparent retaliation for the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which China is a signatory. State authorities have a responsibility to not interfere in the nonviolent exercise of such rights. IN addition to the harm to the immediate victims, arbitrary detentions undermine freedom of expression and assembly and democratic society generally.