Spirit of Peking University disappearing 100 years after May Fourth Movement, as the university reforms its Marxist Society and expels arrested students

Peking University Marxist Society, which actively supports workers’ rights, continues to face oppression by the police and the university.


Since Peking Left-wing youths organised Mao’s anniversary event on 26 December, their activities have been banned by the Central Government. In the interim, students who helped Jasic Technology Factory workers organise trade union are being hunted down, PKU Marxist Society bears the brunt of it.

Zhan Zhenzhen, one of the original member of the MS who pays effort Marxist documents research and the implementation of the ideology, was arrested in Changsha on 2 January and was expelled by the PKU. Coming from a farmer family, he focused on finding a better future of farms during his university days. Before the Jusic protest broke out, he joined the “2018 PKU workers’ working condition interview group” and conducted interviews with 303 workers. On Labour’s Day, he published an article “People that shouldn’t be forgotten – complete interview of PKU campus workers”.


The arrest and expulsion of Zhan shows the Government’s rising concern of these students. Their intention to reinterpret “Marxism–Leninism–Maoism” and fighting of rights with workers are apparently beyond the government’s redline. After the Jasic protest, the government, together with PKU, escalated their oppression against the students.

In the evening of 27 December, the university posted a notice to announce the “mandatory reshuffling” of the MS, and replaced the existing MS with a new committee of 33 students, as the Society “violates regulations”. 28 December, the MS members started protesting. Their support group’s official website said 13 students were detained by the university for 18 hours.


100 years ago, Peking University nurtured May Fourth New Culture Movement, and the Chinese communist ideology. Chen Duxiu, initiator of the movement and the founder of Chinese Communist Party, had also taught at PKU. After the movement, in June 1919, he said in his published article “Laboratory and Prison”, that “the two birthplaces of world’s civilisation are science laboratory and prison. We youths should go to prison when we step out of labs, and back to labs when we leave prison. That is the most noble style of living.”