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Students hang flags in show of support

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 April, 2008, 12:00am


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Students at Shanghai's elite Fudan University have hung Chinese flags from their dormitories in a rare show of campus activism ahead of a string of sensitive dates in May and June.

Students have hung about 20 flags from two buildings on the university's medical school campus since last week, in an organised campaign to support the Olympics and China's sovereignty over Tibet.

'One person hanging a flag doesn't produce results, but everyone together has the power of collective action. Displaying a flag shows my inner attitude: love of my country, support for the 2008 Olympics and support that Tibet belongs to China,' one student said.

Despite the show of patriotism, the university is ambivalent over the display. Some students have called for protests against France and CNN on May 1, as well as a boycott of French retailer Carrefour.

Administrators have allowed the flags to remain hanging in the windows but tried to suppress publicity.

May 4 is the anniversary of student demonstrations over the unfair terms of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. June 4 is the date of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

The latest action at Fudan supports Beijing, but officials fear any campus protest in case it turns against the government.

Students bought the flags from an online auction site after an internet posting from a classmate urging them to take part.

'I feel that most people have affection for our nation, but sometimes it is necessary for somebody to stand up and lead,' the campaign's organiser said.