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Laglag! Top Chinese university removes Marxist student leader

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By Agence France-Presse

A top Chinese university on Thursday removed the student leader of an on-campus Marxist group, replacing him and other core members with its own picks — most of them Communist Party members.

The person responsible for the Marxist society “repeatedly” organised activities in violation of rules, the Peking University Student Extracurricular Guidance Center posted on the school’s internal online forum.

He has already been “penalised” by the public security bureau and “does not have the qualifications to continue… as head of the organisation”, it said.

The removal of Qiu Zhanxuan, the school’s Marxist society president, comes a day after he was detained by police for — according to a witness — attempting to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Mao Zedong, whose legacy in China remains controversial.

According to a notice seen by AFP, Qiu was handed an “administrative penalty” by Beijing police for “holding up slogans, singing… (and) other methods to disturb the public order at Peking University” last week.

Qiu was released from police custody on Thursday, according to a source who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Peking University has also decided to “restructure” the Marxist society, its notice said, listing newly selected student leaders — all of whom are Communist Party members.

The 32 other students who have been made core members of the reshuffled Marxist group are also all in the Communist Youth League or Communist Party, or are in the process of becoming members.

Considered China’s most prestigious university, Peking has a history of student activism with its alumni playing a key role in the pro-democracy Tiananmen protests in 1989.

But campus activism has been quashed under President Xi Jinping.

In August, a police raid swept up student activists at several universities, beating some of them and confiscating their phones for supporting a labour rights movement in the southern Guangdong province.

And last month, a Peking graduate affiliated with the activist group was beaten and taken by men in dark clothing on campus, according to an eyewitness.

The school later issued a statement on its online forum, calling the alumnus a “suspected criminal”.