Photos: College students’ Occupy Seats movement turns ugly as Graduate Admission Exam nears
With now an increasing number of Chinese students choosing graduate school to get themselves more prepared for the hypercompetitive job market in China, admissions to various graduate programs are getting more selective than ever. The Postgraduate Admission Test (中国研究生入学考试) is an integral part of the admission process.
Every Chinese college student has gone through the ritual called “Occupying seats,” if they wish to find a place other than their dormitory room, usually overcrowded and ill-ventilated, to cram for exams. Severe shortage in educational resources, in this case, school buildings and classrooms, coupled with an ever expanding pool of college students, has made study room seats more coveted than ever.
It is usually a lasting battle. Unless you ensconce yourself all day, leaving for the loo or a snack can cost you the hard-earned seat, and you would have to start hunting again. And anything you use for occupying it while you are away – from textbooks to jackets, from thermoses to greasy food you have brought to allay hunger – may be ruthlessly swept onto the floor by another contender before he sits in your place.
Shandong Normal University has stipulated students should only use class rooms in their respective department buildings, which furthered the scarcity of the study spaces and the impetus to occupy seats beforehand. A collection of images on NetEase show how students snatch up their seats at Shandong Normal University.
Below is a short video posted online this week, which shows how a roomful of SNU students preparing for the Postgraduate Admission Test came into physical clash with one another after the dispute over seats went out of control. Even though jockeying for a seat in a study room is endemic on Chinese campuses today, a mayhem like this is unheard of.
Video on Youku
Students chain up the seats to thwart contenders.
Chains and locks await the flocks.
Chains and books decorate the nooks.
Some literally live in study rooms.
“I am saving this seat for my preparation for Postgraduate Admission Test. Thanks!”
“Seat occupied for 2103 exam! – 2012.2″
“Saving seats is no easy task. My apologies!!! – 12.2.28″
“Seat taken!! School of sports!”
“I came here to occupy these seats, and I am not afraid of fight. This row is taken. Don’t mess with me. Don’t take this down, thanks!!”
After the scuffle, school staff have removed the books students use to occupy seats.