Ai Weiwei’s Project: School Principal Refuses to Release Names of Students Killed

In this blog post, Ai Weiwei transcribes a conversation between a school principal at Fuxin Elementary School in Mianzhu, Sichuan and a volunteer recording the names of the dead students. Throughout the argument, the principal insisted that, although it was a worthy cause, the volunteers would need official government permission in order to receive the list of names and family contact information of the deceased.  Although the volunteer repeatedly tries to refute the need for official permission, the principal keeps stating that office procedure requires it.  The argument ends with the volunteer emphasizing that he just wants the truth; the principal replies that the government has already announced the truth, and listing the names of the deceased is not required.  See past posts on “The Numbers.” A rough translation of the conversation: 校长:如果你们要到学校了解关于遇难学生的名单以及情况,我们需要你们出示一个关于教育局下来的(不允许录音!)联系函,任何团体,包括我们现在学校的志愿者教师,他都是有教育局和学校联系过来的。 Principal: If you want the list of names, you need to have official permission. (No recording allowed here!) 志愿者:我们只有通过找到遇难学生的名单,还有他们的家长,可能通过这些名单就可以给他们提供帮助。 Volunteer: We just have to find the names of the students who perished, and their parents; maybe through this list of names we can assist them. 校长:这样吧,因为学校在遇难学生家属这块,政府和教育局在具体的安排, 解决这一块。政府呢,也为我们学生家属上面已经解决了很多问题,如果说你们下来要调查,要了解什么 问题,我们需要教育局有一个正式的东西,必须要见到教育局签批的一个文件,我们才能够配合你们的工作,现在这样一项工作上,政府确实花了很大力气,作为不管是党中央也好,还是地方政府也好,作为学校这一方面,我们已经感觉到政府在这个上面解决的力度,应该说是前所未有的力度,所以说,作为民间组织要支助也好,帮助也好,希望你们组织有一个正式的联系函,到学校,这样我们才能配合你们展开工作。 Principal: The government and Education Bureau have specific procedures. The families have already settled with the government; to research this information, you need formal authorization from the government.  We feel that the government is already on top of the problem, with unprecedented vigor. So with regards to this volunteer organization, although it would help, we still need an official letter to work with you. 志愿者:像您说的国家,政府给予政策我们是不怀疑的,但问题是,我希望通过我们自己的力量为灾区做一点事情。 Volunteer: We don’t doubt that there is a government policy, as you say, but the problem is that we want to make some contribution by our own efforts. 校长:作为政府来讲,也是欢迎我们社会各界团体,为我们这样一些伤残学生啊 ,或者遇难学生家属啊,给予帮助,在这一块上,我们要有正规的途径来完成,你们的帮助也需要我们社会来共同关注,你们做了什么,社会也必须要知道,如果说你们这个组织只是跟下面的学校或者家长联系,他会阻碍你们这个组织在社会上扩大影响。我们需要一个正式的联系函。 Principal: You need to go through formal channels, and society must know what you’re doing… We need an official letter from the government allowing ...
« Back to Article

Comments are closed.