Thousands of Students Stage Angry Protest at School in Sichuan Province

By Fang Xiao, Epoch Times
September 19, 2009 1:40 am Last Updated: September 19, 2009 1:41 am
The contractor's car was turned over by the students. (The Epoch Times)
The contractor's car was turned over by the students. (The Epoch Times)

A student backlash was triggered on Sept. 10 when power and water supplies were cut off in southwest China’s Linyang High School in Sichuan Province.

Angry students smashed the school’s living facilities and cars, and even drove away the local police chief who came to calm the situation.

A school teacher, who spoke anonymously, told the Epoch Times that because of the spread of H1N1 and the unusual, relentless hot weather since the end of August, all local secondary and primary schools announced holidays a few days ago.

However, management at Linyang High School, a boarding school, insisted on keeping students in school without a water supply or electric fans during the night. The school has over 3,000 students and staff.

On the night of Sept 10, after students’ requests to leave the dorms were rejected, a dispute occurred with the dorm management staff. The conflict soon escalated and angry students rushed out of the dorm and went to the school contractor's office to protest. The contractor is in charge of student living facilities and supplies, such as the cafeteria, supermarket, and student dorms.

The school canteen after the riot. (The Epoch Times)
The school canteen after the riot. (The Epoch Times)
Their protest ended without relief. To vent their anger, students smashed the doors and windows of the school’s supermarket with bricks, stones, and wooden sticks. They overturned the tables and chairs in the cafeteria, threw away all the food and destroyed the garage door and smashed two of the contractor’s cars.

They even drove away the deputy director of the local police bureau, who came to calm down the row. The conflict was stopped only after dozens of anti-riot police used tear gas to gain control of the students.

The teacher disclosed that the school subcontracted the school’s living facilities to an outsider, who then invested 12 million yuan (approximately US$1,757,851) to build the cafeteria, supermarket, and student dorms. The contractor has a monopoly over the three facilities.

Students live in the school facilities every day. They are only provided with expensive meals of poor quality. The school doesn’t supply drinking water, so students have to buy poor quality drinking water at the school supermarket.

One girl said she spends 50 yuan (approximately US$7.32) for drinking water each month. The school does not allow students to bring outside food into the school as well. Many students have been body-searched due to suspicion of bringing in food. The food is confiscated if found during a search, and the student is expelled from school.

Because of the monopoly, each student must pay 480 to 580 yuan (approximately US$70.27 to US$84.91) per semester for dorm housing. Eight students live in a 10-square-meter room. The rent is 80 to 100 yuan per square meter/month, twice as expensive as the rent paid in the busiest street in Beijing. In addition, water and electric service is unreliable.

The teacher disclosed that opposition to the boarding school’s type of management has been raised many times, but has all been quashed. The teacher suspects the school authority and local education bureau get large kickbacks from the contractor, at the expense of thousands of students and the welfare of hundreds of teachers.

Read the original Chinese article.