Nearly four years after the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, parents of the children who perished in the flimsy school buildings, referred to as “tofu buildings” due to their structural weaknesses, continue to battle with local authorities for compensation.
Over 500 parents of children gathered on the morning of Jan. 11 at the Beichuan county government facility to request insurance compensation, though they were again ignored, according to reports and interviews. In desperation, the parents blocked the only main traffic artery to Xinxian City, bringing traffic to a halt.
A deputy county magistrate in charge of traffic was initially assigned to negotiate with the distressed parents, but it was said that the deputy for the most part merely sat there, providing no response to questions. The parents then demanded that the government deal with the problem seriously, by assigning another leader capable of negotiating with them. The request was denied. Outraged by the officials’ attitude, the parents blocked traffic.
Caiyun (an alias) was one of the outraged parents in Beichuan County. She told The Epoch Times that victimized students in other regions had received compensation for losses.
“We have evidence of the pay-off,” she said. The county magistrate responded with circular logic: “If victims in other areas were paid compensation, your compensation would also have been paid.” The parents were upset and frustrated by the remarks.
The parents said their children should have been covered by accident insurance, but now the evidence was buried in the ruins. They found it hard to accept the magistrate’s statement that the government did not buy any insurance against the loss, and speculated that the astonishing amount of compensation might have been shared by officials and the insurance company; they thought this may be one explanation for the apparently nonsensical and aloof attitude of the magistrate.
Local victims also complained that their houses were destroyed by the earthquake, but the home loan granted by the government to earthquake victims at supposedly more favorable terms offered little help. Most of the victims had to purchase their new homes with personal bank loans.
Caiyun criticized local communist authorities. “The officials claimed to act in the name of the victims, but put all the money in their own pockets. Instead, we did not even have relief supplies to our name.
“The government hid the truth from the masses of people. We are denied the freedom to speak up for ourselves.”
Read the original Chinese article.