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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Murder sparks Beijing protest
Shrine to murdered girl
Students set up a shrine to the victim

Hundreds of students held a second day of protests at Beijing University over the authorities' handling of the murder of one of their classmates.

The demonstration followed an unauthorised candle-lit vigil by 2,000 students on Tuesday night.


Students hold candlelit vigil
Students are calling for improved security
The protests came amid mounting anger over the murder of Qiu Qingfeng, a female student who was raped and killed last week as she walked home to a remote rural suburb.

The students are demanding that the university hold a memorial service, and improve security.

Three hours into their renewed protest, the university announced that a memorial service would be held on Thursday.

Most students said they had no political aims, and there were no plans to take the protest to the streets.

"That would be tantamount to an early death," said one student.

Earlier, the university was reported to have forbidden a memorial because it was too close to the sensitive anniversary of the June 1989 suppression of student protests at Tiananmen Square.


Girls with candle
Most said they had no political aims
This was denied by the university authorities.

Students have criticised the authorities for failing to provide a frequent bus service between university sites, despite previous reports of students being harassed.

Eyewitnesses said posters criticising university staff were torn down by officials - and some students are reported to have called for resignations by both college and police officials.

Tiananmen

The authorities have sought to keep a tight rein on Beijing University since 1989, when its students were among leaders of the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.

One official told the BBC that staff shared the student's shock at the murder, and did not oppose what he called appropriate mourning activities.

BBC Beijing correspondent Duncan Hewitt says the incident is a reminder of the extreme sensitivity which remains about any mass and unauthorised student activity.

The protests were organised over the Internet, with Ms Qiu's memorial site registering more than 13,000 hits.

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04 Jun 99 | Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square remembered
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