The news of a Chinese government donation of 23 school buses to the Republic of Macedonia on 25 November, 2011, has outraged Chinese netizens, who are mourning for the death of 19 preschool kids in a car accident in Gansu province on 16 November, 2011.
The Gansu school bus accident
The so-called “school bus” in the Gansu car crash is a minivan originally consisting of 9 seats but modified to accommodate 64 kids. In the accident, the van collided with a truck causing the death of 2 adults and 19 kindergarten kids.
This is not a random accident as the overloading of school buses has been a long-standing issue in China. Below is a music video, ‘Blood Stained School Buses’, uploaded by Youtube user Angelcat1921 soon after the Gansu accident:
Chinese netizens’ reactions on the crash have been recorded and translated by Jing Gao from the Ministry of Tofu:
In China, 99.9% of children who take a school bus to school are kids of ordinary people. Kids of politicians and party cadres always have government-owned cars or specialty cars to ride and are very safe. This is the “greatness, glory and correctness” of our party. And the advantage of the socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Ensuring safety of little children is the bottom line of a country, a society and a government that protect its people. If this bottom line cannot be met, I am not sure if this country, this society and this government still deserve to be there. Huh huh!
A country with money to burn cannot even protect little children. What is its point of launching manned spaceships? Child car seats, let alone school buses, remain still unregulated. Our country has become the world champion in automobile production! This microblog post is getting disturbing.
School buses donated to Macedonia
While people are still angry about the government’s inability to protect the country’s future generation, the propaganda of the strong middle kingdom handing over 23 well-equipped school buses to Macedonia has added oil to the fire.
Weibo user Wu Shuping struggles with the Sina censor and keeps re-posting [zh] his angry message:
Repost deleted message: While refusing to buy school buses for our own country’s school kids, [the government] has donated 23 school buses to Macedonia while the 20 dead kids’ bodies are still warm. The Chinese ambassador said: the buses have 35 seats, meeting all required criteria – protective automatic doors, fire extinguisher and safety belt for every seat. I can bear this no more, take this: Fxxk your mother!
Christopher Jing further interprets the government’s logic [zh] for its action:
Better present the gift to a neighboring country than slaves at home. So surprised to hear that China has donated 200 [the accurate figure is 23] luxurious school buses to Macedonia to improve their learning environment. It sent its ambassador to present the gift in a humble manner, like a naked person offers clothes to others or a poor guy giving away his money. It is so unreasonable. If you have so many golden color school buses, why don’t you help your own school kids. Instead you watch Chinese kids taking “school buses” which are meant for transporting livestock. Shame on you! It is such an insult.
Even a host of state-controlled media television, Zhao Pu, points out [zh] that the government has chosen the wrong timing for the donation handover event:
Macedonia is a small country in Europe, it is not wealthy. However Macedonians enjoy much better social benefits than Chinese people. It is OK to express friendliness by donating school buses, we have been doing ineffective things like this for a long time. But please consider the timing and take care of people’s emotions? Don’t let the dead kids curse us? They are too young to learn the F word.
In order to pacify people’s anger, the Propaganda Department asked media outlets to withdraw the news, but it was too late. Han Zhiguo points out [zh]:
[Truth cannot be covered up when handling a public incident] It is not about how many school buses has been donated to Macedonia, but the implications of the incident: Chinese government shows more care to foreign elementary school kids than their own kids. While people are still in pain, it is stupid to make their donation. When confronting public anger, the authority exercises its power again by removing all the news from the Internet. With the rise of social media, how can they still believe that they can cheat people like this?
Photo from citizenoftheworld via flickr