More Government Officials

The Minister of the CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) is coming to visit our school tomorrow. In order to impress upon him how busy and hardworking we are all, I’ve been asked to put on a “fake class” tomorrow with a group of students. I’m normally off on Saturdays, and so are the English department students. But no, tomorrow we must get up early and go to class and pretend that we are learning and studying. No joke. Just in case the Minister pops into one of the classrooms, it should seem that we are using all of our facilities. I love politics.

Update 13 April – here is a photo of the students welcoming the Minister. It was really, really windy, but they are trying to hold up this big banner anyway:


3 Responses to “More Government Officials”

  1. chinaview Says:

    It happens all the time all over China.

    One well-known incident is The 1994 Kelamayi Fire in Xijiang Province caused 288 students death:

    On December 8, 1994, the Kelamayi City (Xinjiang province) Department of Education put on a show for 25 higher-level officials from the “Free Education and Literacy Assessment Team” with 796 elementary and middle school students at the Friendship Theater. The theater curtain was too close to the stage light and caught fire. Fireballs were dropping down on the stage from the air. At that moment, a Kelamayi Department of Education official told the students: “Everybody sit down. Don’t move! Let the leaders leave first!”

    The students were very obedient and sat still in their seats. They waited for the 25 officials sitting in the front row to exit in the rear. Then the teachers organized the students to evacuate. But by that time, the lights had failed and fire was everywhere. The only exit was engulfed in flames (note: all other fire safety exits had been padlocked by the Friendship Theater management).

    All 796 students from 15 schools were engulfed in flames. 323 died (including 288 students) and 132 suffered fire burns. Of the 40 plus teachers, 36 perished and the state of their bodies showed that they were genuine heros and heroines. Example 1: When Teacher Meng’s body was found, her back and head was burned to charcoal but there was a student underneath her arms and his heart was still beating! Example 2: Teacher Zhou held open the curtain door. All he had to do was to take one step forward and he would be safe himself. But he stood there to prop the iron door open with his shoulders. Surviving students saw him last using his hands to push three students out before falling himself. Example 3: Elementary school principal Zhang and deputy school principal Ni kept pushing students out of the fire. Their bodies were burned almost beyond recognition, but they had their arms open with several dead students around them, like mother hens protecting their brood.

    Of the 20 plus Kelemayi officials, all survived. In the wake of the ensuing public outrage (and that was in the pre-Internet age), many of the officials were tried and jailed. The most ignominous case was a female official who was familiar with the setup in the Friendship Theater. When she saw that there was no way to go through the exit, she went into the restroom, locked the door and refused to let anyone else in. Afterwards, more than 100 bodies of students were found outside the restroom. She was sentenced to four years in jail for dereliction of duty. She told the press: “I am very experienced in escaping with my life.” That could be a famous saying too.

  2. global gal Says:

    Thanks for you comment. That is absolutely shocking. Of course, I hadn’t heard anything about it before. I have visited your blog previously, reading about the Three Gorges Damn Project. I will be visiting again, to read more, as it is a fascinating blog. I’ve just found out that I will be returning to China for another year, this time moving to Linyi in Shandong province. So I will need to stay in touch with the issues affecting Chinese people.

  3. chinaview Says:

    Some info about Linyi City:

    Linyi is not a big city even not known by most Chinese people including me (before), but is well known now at least by human rights defenders because of the case of Cheng Guangcheng, a blind lawyer, a human rights activist, who was detained and arrested with the charge of “damaging public property and gathering people to block traffic” in June 2006, which was politically motivated.

    Cheng “has been imprisoned solely because of his peaceful defence of human rights and he should be released immediately”, he “had been helping local villagers in their attempt to sue the local authorities in Linyi City, Shandong province, for carrying out an illegal policy of forced abortions and sterilizations which reportedly affected thousands of local women.”
    said by Amnesty International.

    If you search on my blog by key-word “Linyi”, you will find out the related reports about that case.

    It’s pain to see people been sufferred, at same time it’s lucky to witness the changes happing in this great era- the waken Chinese people are doing their best to defend the rights thus is changing the future of their life and of China.

    Good luck. You will be one of the witness of the changing china. 🙂

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