1. Last Sunday in Huangcang Middle School in the Chinese province of Hunan, what should have been a light-hearted military demonstration turned bloody.
It ended with the hospitalisation of 42 students and their head teacher. According to Beijing News, a brawl broke out between the military staff and students during an activity day held by soldiers.
“More than 20 [military] instructors rushed to start beating the boys, while some girls were frightened to tears,” an anonymous student was quoted as saying. “Some boys were bleeding, so the head teacher took out his cell phone to call an ambulance. The instructor asked other instructors, ‘Beat him, or no?’ One replied, ‘Let’s beat him’. After that, a group of people rushed to beat the head teacher.”
3. According to the student, the threat of violence was sparked earlier in the day.
Things got slightly hairy when male students became annoyed by a soldier who was flirting with a female student called Tian. Events escalated a few hours later, with the battle resulting in some students suffering broken bones.
After the fracas police arrived and 42 students were sent to hospital for treatment along with the head teacher, Liu Yunjie, and an army instructor, Chinese state media confirmed. Photos, allegedly of the injured students (who were wearing army-style clothes), circulated on social media.
5. On Tuesday the Propaganda Department of Longshan County released a report into the incident.
The report provoked accusations of a cover-up with what many described as a laughably weak explanation for the students’ injuries. The department said that things got nasty because, “When they were correcting students’ posture, the instructors’ ranges of motion were so big that a few students fell to the ground or cried’.” They did acknowledge that after this, “the situation degraded into chaos.”
Attempting to explain the bloody injuries sustained by the students, the department claimed that they mainly injured themselves. “Students… smashed windows and doors to show their dissatisfaction,” the report read. “In the process some students’ hands were hurt.”
7. Students reacted with disbelief at being accused of injuring themselves.
A wave of support arrived on Chinese social media. Yesterday students and parents held a protest in Longshan County and spoke to high-ranking local police staff, teachers and the local mayor, who promised to get them justice. The deputy director of the police station admitted that the soldiers had been drinking alcohol before the fight.
9. Yesterday head teacher Liu Zhijie was still unconscious in hospital.
Longshan County maintains its investigation report was accurate, but said it would investigate further. They said the head teacher and students should take some responsibility for what happened.
10. The social media comments have kept pouring in.
This commenter wrote: “What a talented government! So the girl tried to seduce the instructor first, then the head teacher instigated and aggravated the conflict… ‘Range of motion when trying to correct students’ posture’, students got emotional and didn’t bother to control themselves, hurting themselves as they vented their anger. I want to ask: how did all 40-odd people hurt themselves together? How? Did they take turns? Everyone beat the person when it’s his/her turn?”
This person wrote: “The students of Longshan Middle School in Hunan went to the street in protest! Young as they are, they’ve taken up obligations of adults. We should be ashamed. Instructors’ violence against these students alone is not enough to drive them onto the street. It is the Longshan government’s blatant lies that drove the students onto the street in protest! The instructors’ violence against the students/teacher led to 42 students and a teacher injured. The government dares to act like a rogue and says that the instructors didn’t hit anyone. Lies from the governments are triggers to group protests in.”
This one wrote: “Whoever did the investigation, and whoever wrote the report must be lying in our face. ‘Range of motion is too big, leading to students falling on the ground and crying’… do you believe such vague language? Boo!”
Additional reporting by Jane Wu.