Parents Protest China School Collapse

Seima Oki, Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer reports:

About 200 bereaved parents who lost children when part of a primary school collapsed during the recent earthquake in southwest China demonstrated Wednesday, saying the local government was responsible for the shoddy construction work.

Several hundred children at Xin Jian Primary School in Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province, are believed to have died when a school building collapsed during the earthquake on May 12.

The parents thronged into interim tents set up by the municipal government’s education bureau, knocking down three of the tents and destroying computers and printers by kicking them or slamming them onto the ground.

About 300 police officers were mobilized to the site and foreign media staffers were cleared from the area. It is unclear whether the police arrested the demonstrators.

Tim Johnson, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, also writes about his latest quake reporting experience on his China Rises blog:

At one point, we noticed a man pointing a video camera steadily at us. He then shot images of the parents who were talking to us. When approached, he would only say that he was from Chengdu.

Clearly, he was a security official. The issue of collapsed schools from the earthquake is a sensitive one, and state security is worried that grieving parents will cause trouble over the deaths of their children.

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