The Grief of Earthquake Parents in China Remains Unanswered

June 21, 2008 Updated: June 21, 2008

CHINA—It has been over a month since the devastating earthquake occurred in Sichuan Province. However, many parents have not received an answer as to who should be held responsible for the shoddily constructed school buildings under which their children were buried alive.

In the afternoon of June 19, in a small mountain pass near the city limits of Beichuan county, about 600 parents from a local high school gathered again to demand an answer. Over 1,340 teachers and students were buried alive under the rubble of the school's two five-story buildings.

“We entrusted our children to the school and paid whatever the school asked for. We want our children; we want to see them or at least their bodies. Why was the government rescue delayed, why was no one saved…?” the parents shouted to a deputy County Governor in charge of education, who remained silent the entire time.

Where Are Our Children

A Buddhist nun Miaojue Cizhi who participated in the relief work told The Epoch Times, “These parents are very emotional now, because they don't even know where their children are buried. No one provided any explanation. The rescue team did not come until three days later, and made it even worse, they came with bare hands. They did not actually come to rescue [the children], but came to collect bodies.”

According to the parents, the roads to Beichuan were not blocked by the earthquake, the overseas rescue teams could have made it through without any problem, but the prime rescue time was lost by the government's rejection of international help.

Ms. Jiang told this reporter her son was only half buried under the rubble, people could see his upper body. If some one had tried, he could have been saved, but the rescue team was too far away, “My son wrote me a posthumous letter with his fingernail, 'Mom and dad, I am sorry, have a good life ahead.'” Ms. Jiang soberly said.

No Closure

Some parents have collected a sample of the collapsed school rubble, they found that the concrete rubble could be pinched by the hand and it turned into sand. One parent named Jin Chu said, “More than one month passed, the government has never replied or greeted us.”

“We all want to know who are the relevent people and officials. From the day the earthquake happened, no one in the government or school have ever contacted us, we don't even know exactly how many students died.”

Jin Chu's 19 year old son was the member of the Beichuan High School sports team. He won three first prizes in last year's City Games.

Jin said soberly, “We are farmers from the mountain region; it has been extremely hard for us to support two children in school. My husband has never stopped working. I have hyperostosis (excessive or abnormal thickening or growth of bone tissue,) but I did not go to the hospital in order to save money for their tuition. And now, I haven't even seen my sons' bodies.”

Police Break-up Memorial Services and Destroy Monument

According to the nun, those parents had held a memorial service not long ago and put up a monument on the rubble of the collapsed school. But the service was interrupted by the police, four parents were arrested and the police even destroyed the monument.

Another parent said, “My son was in the eighth grade, the government buried all corpses in mass pits, not even a word was said to any parent about which pit their child was buried in.”

According to estimations, the earthquake caused the deaths of at least ten thousand students. However, no official memorial activities were arranged for this, and relief work heroes are the main topic in the earthquake reports in state run media. Some local authorities even mobilized security forces to seal off the collapsed schools, in order to stop angry parents from entering the sites and protesting.