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让领导先走 (ràng lǐngdǎo xiān zǒu): leaders first
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'''让领导先走 (ràng lǐngdǎo xiān zǒu): leaders first'''
  
In 1994, Karamay (克拉玛依), Xinjiang, a fire broke out in a theater in which 1000 children were watching a special variety performance. As the fire spread, a woman ordered loudly, “Everyone sit down. Don’t move. Let the leaders leave first!” (大家坐下,不要动,让领导先走). The fire resulted in 325 deaths, 288 of whom were children. Twenty Party officials were said to have escaped, among whom was Kuang Li (况丽) who is accused of giving the famous command.
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[[File:Karamay.jpg|300px|thumb|right|''Parents of Karamay Fire victims. (source unknown)'']][[File:让领导先走.png|300px|thumb|right|''The 2011 animation “[http://youtu.be/BzbEy8c_zXw Little Rabbit, Be Good]” alludes to the Karamay Fire.'']] Sarcastic command to put the interests of Party officials before the needs of the people; quotation from an official during the horrific [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2012/12/drawing-the-news-cleaning-up-an-official-mess/#karamay Karamay Fire of 1994].
  
The phrase become popular online and represents the feeling that government officials have priority over ordinary people.
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On December 8, 1994, about 500 schoolchildren gathered in a theater in Karamay, Xinjiang to watch a variety show. Top students had been invited. During the performance, a fire broke out on stage. As it spread, a woman shouted, "Everyone sit down. Don't move. Let the leaders leave first!" (大家坐下,不要动,让领导先走). Three hundred twenty-five people died, including 288 children. Twenty Party officials were said to have escaped, among them vice-secretary for educational training at the Xinjiang Petroleum Management Department Kuang Li, who was accused of giving the deadly command.
  
Below are excerpts of the English report of the event, twelve years after the incident: China aghast at 'sacrifice' of 288 pupils - Times Online.
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Then-CCTV president Yang Weiguang [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2007/11/why-i-gagged-the-karamay-fire-story-yang-weiguang-eu%C2%AE%E2%80%B0%C2%BAuaoa/ admitted to stopping reporters from airing a broadcast about the fire] due to the sensitive nature of the tragedy and how it reflected on the Party. Yang also described how the Central Propaganda Department later gave orders banning coverage of the incident.  
  
"On December 8, 1994, 500 schoolchildren were taken to a special variety performance at a theatre in Karamay, an oil-producing city in China’s northwest Xinjiang province.
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Ordinary people did not forget Karamay, however. Beijing-based poet and folk singer [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/china/zhou-yunpeng/ Zhou Yunpeng]'s song "[http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/02/dont-be-the-child-of-chinese/ Don’t Be a Child of the Chinese]" (中国孩子) opens with the tragedy. Netizens invoke the command "leaders first" whenever disaster response seems to favor officials over victims.
  
Most were the best and brightest pupils in their classes, aged between seven and 14, the offspring of well educated Han Chinese engineers and physicists brought in to exploit the mostly Muslim region’s natural resources.
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In the aftermath of an [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2014/08/398-killed-yunnan-earthquake/ earthquake in Yunnan in August 2014], Premier Li Keqiang reportedly instructed the injured to be evacuated first while on his visit of the area, an apparent attempt to prevent a repeat of the same criticism that the government received following the Karamay Fire. The premier’s attempt to make himself appear like he is on top of rescue efforts was greeted with skepticism by netizens:
  
After they were seated, a delegation of the city’s most senior officials entered to ritual applause and took their seats. The show began.
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<blockquote>
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''Daian-Diane'' (@黛安-Diane): The wounded struggled to sit up from the stretcher as he called out: "Let the leaders leave first..." (August 2014)</blockquote>
  
From the accounts of survivors, it appears that lamps near the stage either short-circuited or fell. The scenery caught fire, then exploded in a conflagration that engulfed the auditorium within a minute or two.
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<blockquote>
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伤员挣扎地从担架上爬起来,呻吟地说“让领导先走”... [[http://www.weibo.com/2370161462/BgL2DqiUy Chinese]]</blockquote>
  
The first few seconds became the most controversial of the disaster. Survivors insist that a woman official immediately stood up and shouted: “Everyone keep quiet. Don’t move. Let the leaders go first.
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[http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2015/03/minitrue-delete-news-on-uyghur-jailed-for-beard-karamay-fire/ News of a fire in Karamay on March 26, 2015 that claimed six lives was also suppressed], prompting netizens to post "leaders first" to [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/chinese/2015/03/%E3%80%90%E7%BD%91%E7%BB%9C%E6%B0%91%E8%AE%AE%E3%80%91%E8%AF%B7%E5%90%84%E4%BD%8D%E6%9C%8B%E5%8F%8B%E8%B0%A8%E6%85%8E%E8%A8%80%E8%A1%8C/ Weibo] and [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/chinese/2015/03/%E3%80%90%E5%9B%BE%E8%AF%B4%E5%A4%A9%E6%9C%9D%E3%80%91%E8%AE%A9%E9%A2%86%E5%AF%BC%E5%85%88%E8%B5%B0/ NetEase] [Chinese].
  
She has since been identified in online articles as Kuang Li, who was vice-director of the state petroleum company’s local education centre, although there has been no official confirmation of this.
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See also [[I only serve the leaders]] and [[yax lizard]].
  
The teachers obeyed, telling their charges to remain seated. Children who survived recall that everyone was paralysed by fear and confusion as flames and poisonous fumes filled the air.
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[[Category: Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon]][[Category:Party and State]][[Category:Society and Culture]]
 
 
By the time the dignitaries had filed out, it was too late. Teachers hurried the pupils out of their seats to other exits, only to find that the emergency doors were locked."
 
 
 
Beijing based poet and folk singer Zhou Yunpeng 周云蓬 wrote a song: [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/02/dont-be-the-child-of-chinese/ Don’t be a child of Chinese], referring to this event.
 
 
 
Reference links:
 
# [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2007/11/why-i-gagged-the-karamay-fire-story-yang-weiguang-eu%c2%ae%e2%80%b0%c2%bauaoa/ Why I Gagged the Karamay Fire Story – Yang Weiguang (杨伟光)]
 
# [http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2006/01/ten-famous-sayings-in-china-6park/ Ten Famous Sayings in China – 6Park_]
 
 
 
See also, [[I only serve the leaders]]
 
 
 
 
 
[[File:Kuang_Li.jpg|400px|thumb|left|Kuang Li, who denies ordering the students to remain seated as Party officials fled. She claims that she too was badly burned.]]
 
 
 
[[Category: Grass-Mud Horse Lexicon]]
 

Latest revision as of 21:51, 14 March 2016

让领导先走 (ràng lǐngdǎo xiān zǒu): leaders first

Parents of Karamay Fire victims. (source unknown)
The 2011 animation “Little Rabbit, Be Good” alludes to the Karamay Fire.

Sarcastic command to put the interests of Party officials before the needs of the people; quotation from an official during the horrific Karamay Fire of 1994.

On December 8, 1994, about 500 schoolchildren gathered in a theater in Karamay, Xinjiang to watch a variety show. Top students had been invited. During the performance, a fire broke out on stage. As it spread, a woman shouted, "Everyone sit down. Don't move. Let the leaders leave first!" (大家坐下,不要动,让领导先走). Three hundred twenty-five people died, including 288 children. Twenty Party officials were said to have escaped, among them vice-secretary for educational training at the Xinjiang Petroleum Management Department Kuang Li, who was accused of giving the deadly command.

Then-CCTV president Yang Weiguang admitted to stopping reporters from airing a broadcast about the fire due to the sensitive nature of the tragedy and how it reflected on the Party. Yang also described how the Central Propaganda Department later gave orders banning coverage of the incident.

Ordinary people did not forget Karamay, however. Beijing-based poet and folk singer Zhou Yunpeng's song "Don’t Be a Child of the Chinese" (中国孩子) opens with the tragedy. Netizens invoke the command "leaders first" whenever disaster response seems to favor officials over victims.

In the aftermath of an earthquake in Yunnan in August 2014, Premier Li Keqiang reportedly instructed the injured to be evacuated first while on his visit of the area, an apparent attempt to prevent a repeat of the same criticism that the government received following the Karamay Fire. The premier’s attempt to make himself appear like he is on top of rescue efforts was greeted with skepticism by netizens:

Daian-Diane (@黛安-Diane): The wounded struggled to sit up from the stretcher as he called out: "Let the leaders leave first..." (August 2014)

伤员挣扎地从担架上爬起来,呻吟地说“让领导先走”... [Chinese]

News of a fire in Karamay on March 26, 2015 that claimed six lives was also suppressed, prompting netizens to post "leaders first" to Weibo and NetEase [Chinese].

See also I only serve the leaders and yax lizard.