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This Is What Chinese Schoolkids Were Made To Do For The Country's Big Military Parade

Imagine having to write an essay about the missiles you just saw marched down the street.

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1. For most Chinese citizens, watching this month's huge military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII was just a bit of entertainment. That wasn't the case for China's school-aged children though.

Many Chinese children, from elementary to high school students, were asked by schools to draft an essay — ranging somewhere between a reported 300- to 900-words — during the three-day national holiday created for the military parade earlier this month.

It remains unclear whether the assignment was a national order, but sources in east China's Zhejiang province and a report from a news portal in south China's Hainan province both show that local schools handed out essays as a mandatory assignment for students. Less formally, hundreds of results mentioning the military parade essay have been posted on Weibo from users spread throughout China.

Some of the authors of those essays (or their parents) posted their handwritten pieces on Weibo, providing a rare opportunity to have a peek into their thoughts.

2. Some students found a way to get around the whole "original ideas" part of essay writing.

"The length, the scale, and the effects of Chinese people's actions against Japanese-fascists are phenomenal," the person who posted this on Weibo allegedly wrote.

"70 years later, the historical alarm is still ringing, but right-wing Japanese are still openly trampling on international orders, and trying to reverse the verdict of history...," they continued.

That might sound familiar to their teacher though: "I was afraid I'll copy the same sample online as my classmates, so I came up with an idea – that I copy a paragraph from one sample article, that way my essay will be combined with four different samples, I'm so brilliant."

3. Others needed to learn when to tone down their enthusiasm a little.

“As soon as the clock ticks 10, I rushed to the living room like a flash of lightning and turned on the TV,” another young user wrote.

"In a little while, state leaders all showed up! All of them! It was sunny on Tiananmen Square and a lot of pupils were there, formed a square with fresh flowers, as long as you look at it, you know it's a grandiose military parade," the one continues. "The scene [of Xi Jinping inspecting troops] was thrilling! I was almost about to cry!"


5. Some chose to highlight what they liked most about the parade, like this student who focused on a single WWII veteran that attended the parade.

"The most heart-wrenching troop was the veteran one. See, a group of old soldiers slowly walked across Tiananmen Square. Their faces are covered with wrinkles, their hairs are all white, they must be at least 90 years old," goes an essay uploaded by a mother self-identified as being from Zhejiang.

"But they raised their old arms — although they couldn't even straighten them nor put together fingers — and paid perfect salute to President Xi," the essay goes. "I'm so touched. They fought in wars 70 years ago regardless of their own safety for our peace and happiness today."

"The kid writes better than I did years ago," the author of the Weibo post wrote.

6. This student appeared to confuse "essay" with "list of different platoons that marched in the parade."

"Ah! It's about the time to watch the military parade. I was very excited at that moment and was trying to imagine how that would be," goes an essay uploaded by a user who seems to be a schoolteacher from east China's Jiangsu province.

"There are troops of aerial flag carriage, veterans, honor guards, Mt. Langya Five Hero Model Soldiers, Battle of Pingxingguan Ambush Model Soldiers..." The whole essay named 28 different groups of soldiers and sailors, so we figured it's better to stop here before bore everybody.

The teacher's review: "total nonsense!"


8. This kid who is on #TeamBlueTank clearly has the right idea when it comes to military hardware.

"Many military wagons, airplanes, tanks and medical transports are cool. My favorite one is a blue tank among them, it's sharp and good-looking, as well as aggressive," the essay reads. "I like the military parade a lot."

9. A 3rd grader wrote, "In the end, white doves symbolizing peace were flied [sic], and colorful balloons were released. After watching the uplifting military parade today, [I believe] our great motherland would become more prosperous."

10. But for homework-laden students, having yet another essay was less than thrilling. A user wrote, "[Today I have] two physics papers, three maths papers, half an English newspaper, an 800-word argumentation, and a 1000-word military parade essay."

Note: This is only two weeks into the new semester.

11. There was no escape, even for users who thought they'd managed to complete the assignment. A user wrote on Weibo, "When I finally squeezed 1,000 words out, one of my colleagues told me it has to be at least 3,000 words."

She continues, "Can we not have to hand in essays after watching the anti-fascist military parade?"

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at

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