Police Officers Beat Up Parents During Earthquake Memorial

The 2008 Sichuan earthquake led to the deaths of thousands of students. (Image: via pexels)

Thousands of students died in China after a massive earthquake hit Sichuan Province in 2008. In memory of the loss, parents recently conducted a public memorial in front of Juyuan High School. However, they were met by brute force from the Chinese police.

The crackdown

More than 100 families from Dujiangyan had gathered in front of the site of the collapsed high school in the morning for the memorial. Relatives were preparing to unfurl banners that detailed the facts and laws in regard to the incident in 2008. But the government was there to oversee the memorial. Banners and placards were snatched from the parents.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

“The authorities wouldn’t let them hang them up, and they snatched away the banners and placards,” said one of the parents. “The government wanted to monitor [the memorial], and there were clashes… Now, the government has beaten up members of our group and they have gone to the hospital,” Chen, one of the children’s parents, told RFA.

Weakness in the foundations of the school buildings may also have contributed to their collapse. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

The crackdown only happened after the relatives set up wreaths and burned funeral offerings, like paper money and incense, to the departed. The victims were taken to the hospital to receive medical attention.

In the 2008 earthquake, 9,000 school children perished. With a magnitude of 8.0, the devastation left in the mountainous regions of Sichuan was colossal. The earthquake hit schools the hardest, turning them to large crumbles and dust. The weak foundations of the buildings also played a role in their collapse. It was later revealed that the weakness could have been the result of corruption during construction that compromised the quality of the buildings. This angered the public, who immediately demanded answers.

Many attempts to bring the problem to the public’s attention were blocked by the government. The parents conducted several stage protests, petition events, and other activities to raise awareness about the tragedy. According to Tan Zuoren, a Chengdu-based writer who researched the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, human rights lawyers are not able to raise a finger due to compensation cases regarding the case of the victims, as well as threats to forfeit their licenses.

Parents are put under surveillance on the anniversary of the tragic incident. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

A similar incident occurred outside a city hall in southern China. Grieving parents from Dujiangyan were there to seek answers for the seemingly weak foundations of the school. They were arrested and beaten up. “They detained several of the parents’ representatives. We are trying to get them released. They detained eight people,” said Hu Jian, a resident of  Dujiangyan, who also lost a daughter in the catastrophe.

A banned earthquake memorial?  

According to a government source in Sichuan’s Mianyang City, any official quake memorial for the victims is non-existent. The municipal Communist Party secretary seemed uninterested in commemorating the anniversary of the tragic event. Aside from the state’s attempt at censoring the event, local media also seemed to ignore the anniversary as well.

“If you dare to commemorate it, they will arrest you on any old charge,” Huang, a resident of Sichuan’s provincial capital Chengdu. “Most parents — especially those who have given interviews to the media in the past — have been subjected to ‘stability maintenance’ in advance [of the anniversary]. Every year they are under 24-hour surveillance.”

Over 80,000 perished in the wake of the catastrophe. More than a decade after the quake, affected parents who rallied for compensation and financial assistance have yet to receive anything from the government.

Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our weekly email

Recommended Stories

Terraced rice growing.

The Health Benefits of Rice

According to Statista, the human population consumed about 490.27 million metric tons of rice in ...

White radishes.

Foods to Keep Your Lungs Healthy in Winter

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated in Wuhan, is spreading fast. Apart from preventive measures ...

A black hole consuming its companion star.

Black Holes Eat Stars in Variable Mood Lighting

When a black hole chews up a star, it produces visible light or X-rays, but ...

A black hole near a red giant star.

Scientists May Have Just Discovered a New Class of Black Holes

Black holes are an important part of how astrophysicists make sense of the universe — ...

A young Chinese girl wearing a mask.

Liberation From the Wuhan Epidemic

The Wuhan coronavirus epidemic in mainland China is spreading across the land at an alarming ...

A patient with caronavius.

China Coronavirus Could Trigger Pandemic: Harvard Epidemiologist

Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, a Harvard epidemiologist and health economist, has warned that the Chinese coronavirus ...

Chinese wearing masks.

How Is the Coronavirus Spreading Across the Globe?

The first case of a novel strain of coronavirus has been confirmed in the United ...

Chiang Kai-shek.

How Formal Education in China Was Ruined by Communism

Before 1949, Chinese society, especially university education in China under the Republic of China, enjoyed ...

Dominic Barton.

Canada’s Ambassador to China Says Relations Chilled After Huawei Executive’s Arrest

Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, recently testified before the special House of Commons committee ...

Send this to a friend