Three Teens Drowned In Jingzhou

Roland Soong of EastSouthWestNorth posts “three reports which reflect the diversity of information sources in China: (1) the Xinhua report which paid tribute to the three heroes; (2) an in-depth investigative report by Southern Weekend; (3) an Internet forum post from a local resident” on the story of three teenagers in Jingzhou who drowned in their efforts to rescue two children from the Yangtze River.

The story has spread quickly on the Internet, in part due to the many assertions that the teens’ deaths could have been avoided, had people on a nearby fishing boat been willing to assist the students. Background from the Xinhua report:

A grand memorial service was held Wednesday in central Hubei Province to honor three college students who died rescuing two children from the Yangtze River on October 24.

Thousands of people holding chrysanthemum flowers went to the Jingzhou Memorial House to see off the teenagers, all 19-year-old students from the Yangtze University based in Jingzhou City. The trio were Chen Jishi, He Dongxu and Fang Zhao.

State Councilor Liu Yandong, Hubei Provincial Party secretary Luo Qingquan and Provincial Governor Li Hongzhong sent their wreaths to the ceremony. “The three heroes gave life to others and risked death themselves,” said Zhang Zhongjia, Communist Party secretary of the Yangtze University. “They are the pride of their parents, elites of the nation and models of the time.”

People touched by their selfless act had donated more than 500,000 yuan ($73,206) to their relatives as of Wednesday, Zhang said.

More than 10 students from the Yangtze University formed a ladder with one student holding another’s arms to rescue the two boys in the river on the afternoon of October 24. One of the students lost his grip on his classmates and all of them were in danger. Several members of a winter swimming team nearby came to help. Chen Jishi, He Dongxu and Fang Zhao were swept away in the torrent, but others were saved.

Fauna of chinaSMACK has also extensive coverage of the story. Translated from a NetEase post:

On the day the Hubei university students saved the children in the water, there was a fishing boat stopped no more than 5 meters away from the children. The students involved in the rescue begged on their knees for their help, but the fishing boat boss said “living people we will not save, [only] fish up bodies, 12,000 per body in the day, 18,000 per body at night”, and would not even give their life preserver/buoy. The investigating reporter discovered that there is a local “folk” profiteering salvage/recovery team [organized by the ordinary area residents, not government] that specifically depends on fishing bodies to earn money.

Also from the chinaSMACK post:

fisherman

This picture is spreading on the internet today. It shows the fishermen after they have fished up a drowned student’s body and refusing to hand the body over until he is paid. I saw a girl reading this news and looking at this photo on the metro today too.

Chinese blogger Han Han has also posted a response to the “Fisherman Incident” on his blog. An excerpt, translated by CDT:

Fourth, we see a microcosm of Chinese society within this and other related incidents. That is, in their derivatives and on their periphery, there are good people who don’t get rewards, mercenaries, and indifference. Some people are in need of help, and their lives are contingent on it; people extend a hand, and as a result are also dragged into the water; good people waiting on the shore are anxious, but their kowtowing and kneeling are of no use because the resources [for help] are monopolized, and those behind these resources see no profit motive. There is not even a corpse.

Fifth, I recommend that Chinese citizens carry 20,000 yuan on them. First, you can’t go wrong with carrying a bit more money given recent skyrocketing commodity prices. Second, on the off chance you get ‘fishhooked,’ you will need to pay between 10,000-20,000 yuan in fees. Third, if you or your friend fall into the water, you can hold up the cash over your head, and in this way you may have a semi-official group come fish you out. If you are fortunate enough to be saved, with the other party being very virtuous and deciding to have you and your body serve as a standard fee — well, then, you still have 8,000 yuan for rescue efforts done by the hospital or the ambulance.

November 6, 2009 8:38 PM
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