Officials in Northwest China's Gansu Province were accused on Monday of pressuring a local high school to expel a student previously detained in a high-profile online rumor crackdown case.
The provincial educational department has ordered the local education authority in the city of Tianshui to investigate the case, Liang Xiang, a vice director with the department's general office, told the Global Times on Monday.
The student, with the pseudonym Yang Hui, was taken out by a deputy principal of Yusheng High School in Tianshui on Monday morning while studying in his classroom, according to Yang.
The deputy principal did not specify which authorities the pressure was from, but said "those things you did" have put the school under too great a pressure, Yang said.
The 16-year-old boy, from the Zhangjiachuan Hui Autonomous County, was detained on September 17 on a criminal charge of "provoking trouble" after posting on his microblog questioning the police conclusion that a man had jumped to his death, while writing that "a protest seems unavoidable."
Yang alleged that police covered up the real cause of the man's death.
Public security authorities confirmed that the posts, which were shared more than 500 times, were ungrounded and misleading.
The police withdrew the criminal charge later, and punished Yang with seven-day administrative detention, citing considerations of his age.
Yang transferred from a high school in Zhangjiachuan to Yusheng High School after being released on September 23. On November 10, Yang posted online saying that he was beaten by about five policemen during his detention in September.
"He dared not say anything shortly after being released," Yang Niuhu, his father, told the Global Times. "He only decided to speak out after he transferred to another school. This thing has hurt him seriously."
You Feizhu, Yang Hui's lawyer, said Yang has applied for State compensation for the initial criminal charge, and has been asking to revoke the seven-day administrative detention.
The Yusheng school did not know Yang Hui was the one involved in the nationally known case, until the Tianshui People's Procuratorate sent people to the school to collect evidence on Yang's accusation of police violence.
"Now, I have to look for a school that is willing to accept him," Yang's father told the Global Times.
The provincial educational department wrote on its Sina Weibo on Monday that "Receiving compulsory education is a citizen's right. A school's task is to educate people. There are teachers who are incapable of teaching students, but there are no students who can't be well educated."
"The school should give clear explanation of its decision," Wang Zhenyu, a researcher with the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times Monday. "If not, its behavior will hurt students. A school should protect its students while educating them."
If what the student said about being expelled is found true, he will certainly be put back in school, chengdu.cn, a Chengdu-based news portal, quoted an official with the provincial educational department as saying.
Ma Zhengrong, principle of Yang's original school in Zhangjiachuan, said the school gates are still open to him if Yang wishes to come back, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
According to a judicial interpretation issued by China's top court and prosecutors' office days before Yang's case on September 9, people will face defamation charges if the online rumors they create are viewed by at least 5,000 Internet users or reposted 500 or more times.