A Beijing resident extended an invitation to a non-local resident to have a physical fight at Chaoyang Park Sunday, after a war of words erupted between them on Sina Weibo over the city's education policy.
While neither of the Web users apparently showed up, the Beijinger, Xiao Bona, has posted numerous comments complaining that there are too many non-locals in the capital and they are using up all the city's resources.
His posts come after a group of around 30 non-local parents clashed with another group of Beijingers outside the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education Thursday. The parents, who have protested at the commission several times this year, are seeking confirmation of when students who do not have a Beijing hukou (household registration), will be able to sit their college entrance examinations, or gaokao, in the city.
Around 30 local residents staged a counter protest, claiming there should be limits on how many non-local students should be allowed to sit the exam in the capital. The local Beijingers cursed the non-local protesters during the four-hour protest, alleged one of the parents, Du Dewang, although there was no violence.
Currently, students who do not have a local hukou must return to their "hometown" to sit the gaokao, even if they have never lived there, and have been entirely educated in Beijing.
In March, Minister of Education Yuan Guiren said the ministry would launch a policy concerning non-local gaokao takers and would request local commissions to implement the detail, the Beijing Times reported in May.
But Du who came to the commission, said that a specific date for implementation of the new policy has not been given.
"Since the policy was already announced by the ministry, we expect it to be implemented by the Beijing education bureau as soon as possible," he said.
"My son has studied in Beijing since primary school but because his hukou is not in Beijing, he has to go back to Inner Mongolia [Autonomous Region] to sit the gaokao," he said.
"It means his choice of university in Beijing will be limited," said Du.
Another parent, surnamed Li, said that she has given up waiting, and has decided to send her 17-year-old daughter overseas for her higher education.
"She was about to apply for the gaokao, but as there was still no confirmation about the date [when non-locals can sit the exam], I decided to send her abroad," she said, adding she came to the protest to support other families.
A local parent, also surnamed Li, who has a 15-year-old son in high school, said while the capital should be open to everyone, there should be limits.
"As Beijing has become such an open city with a large amount of population from elsewhere, it is not fair for the locals who were here for generations to face competition from outside," said Li, adding he feared his son might not be able to get into a top local university.
Zhang Qianfan, professor of law at Peking University, who has three times proposed abolition of the gaokao policy to the State Council, said he understands why the education commission has still not implemented the policy.
"They need to consider the strong reactions of Beijingers to it as well as the effect on the local education industry," he said.
It may also lower the chances for Beijingers to access higher education, as there will be increasing competition due to the result of the changes, said Zhang.
"But providing equal opportunities for non-Beijing students to sit the exam in the city is more urgent," he noted.
The Beijing education commission could not be reached Sunday.