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China, Macedonia: Chinese Netizens Outraged by School Bus Donation

The news of a Chinese government donation of 23 school buses to the Republic of Macedonia on 25 November, 2011, has outraged Chinese netizens, who are mourning for the death of 19 preschool kids in a car accident in Gansu province on 16 November, 2011.

The Gansu school bus accident

The so-called “school bus” in the Gansu car crash is a minivan originally consisting of 9 seats but modified to accommodate 64 kids. In the accident, the van collided with a truck causing the death of 2 adults and 19 kindergarten kids.

This is not a random accident as the overloading of school buses has been a long-standing issue in China. Below is a music video, ‘Blood Stained School Buses', uploaded by Youtube user Angelcat1921 soon after the Gansu accident:

Chinese netizens’ reactions on the crash have been recorded and translated by Jing Gao from the Ministry of Tofu:

畅游山海间:In China, 99.9% of children who take a school bus to school are kids of ordinary people. Kids of politicians and party cadres always have government-owned cars or specialty cars to ride and are very safe. This is the “greatness, glory and correctness” of our party. And the advantage of the socialism with Chinese characteristics.

晚霞中的骊歌: Ensuring safety of little children is the bottom line of a country, a society and a government that protect its people. If this bottom line cannot be met, I am not sure if this country, this society and this government still deserve to be there. Huh huh!

高劲涛: A country with money to burn cannot even protect little children. What is its point of launching manned spaceships? Child car seats, let alone school buses, remain still unregulated. Our country has become the world champion in automobile production! This microblog post is getting disturbing.

China donates 23 school buses to Macedonia. Image from Macedonia Government Website

China donates 23 school buses to Macedonia. Image from Macedonia Government Website

School buses donated to Macedonia

 

While people are still angry about the government's inability to protect the country's future generation, the propaganda of the strong middle kingdom handing over 23 well-equipped school buses to Macedonia has added oil to the fire.

Weibo user Wu Shuping struggles with the Sina censor and keeps re-posting [zh] his angry message:

吴淑平:删后再发:不给自己国家的孩子买校车,甘肃20个孩子的尸骨未寒,居然一口气给马其顿共和国捐赠23辆校车。中国大使说:“这些校车为35座,符合所有安全标准,自动车门、灭火器,每个座位都配有安全带。”//这里,老朽忍无可忍,只送你一个排比句:去你妈!操你妈!滚你妈!

吴淑平:Repost deleted message: While refusing to buy school buses for our own country's school kids, [the government] has donated 23 school buses to Macedonia while the 20 dead kids’ bodies are still warm. The Chinese ambassador said: the buses have 35 seats, meeting all required criteria – protective automatic doors, fire extinguisher and safety belt for every seat. I can bear this no more, take this: Fxxk your mother!

Christopher Jing further interprets the government's logic [zh] for its action:

克里斯托夫-金:宁赠友邦,勿与家奴,惊闻中国昨天向欧洲富国马其顿捐赠2百辆豪华校车,要改善其学习环境,崔大使送车上门,奴颜卑膝啊,自己裸露还要赠衣,贫富巨差还要慷慨解囊,不可理喻,有这么多金色校车,为何不接济自己的穷学校苦孩子?为何眼睁睁中国孩子在运牲口的破校车里担惊受怕?Shame on you!奇耻大辱!

克里斯托夫-金:Better present the gift to a neighboring country than slaves at home. So surprised to hear that China has donated 200 [the accurate figure is 23] luxurious school buses to Macedonia to improve their learning environment. It sent its ambassador to present the gift in a humble manner, like a naked person offers clothes to others or a poor guy giving away his money. It is so unreasonable. If you have so many golden color school buses, why don't you help your own school kids. Instead you watch Chinese kids taking “school buses” which are meant for transporting livestock. Shame on you! It is such an insult.

Even a host of state-controlled media television, Zhao Pu, points out [zh] that the government has chosen the wrong timing for the donation handover event:

赵普:马其顿是一个欧洲小国,并不算富裕,但老百姓享受的福利和手中的财富,比我国人民还是好很多。向其捐校车以示友好,本来也没什么,咱干过的出力不讨好的事多了去了。但,能不能考虑下时机?能不能照顾下国人的情绪?能不能别让泉下的孩子咒骂我们?他们可还没来得及学脏话呢!

赵普:Macedonia is a small country in Europe, it is not wealthy. However Macedonians enjoy much better social benefits than Chinese people. It is OK to express friendliness by donating school buses, we have been doing ineffective things like this for a long time. But please consider the timing and take care of people's emotions? Don't let the dead kids curse us? They are too young to learn the F word.

In order to pacify people's anger, the Propaganda Department asked media outlets to withdraw the news, but it was too late. Han Zhiguo points out [zh]:

韩志国:【 处理公共事件不能掩盖真相 】 向马其顿无偿赠送23辆校车,不在数量,而在取向:中国政府对外国中小学生的关爱超过本国孩子。甘肃校车事件灼痛国人之心,赠车事件此时发布,其愚蠢显而易见。面对公众不满,"有关部门"又故伎重演:所有的赠车新闻一瞬间在网站上消失。微博时代,民众岂能如此被骗?

韩志国:[Truth cannot be covered up when handling a public incident] It is not about how many school buses has been donated to Macedonia, but the implications of the incident: Chinese government shows more care to foreign elementary school kids than their own kids. While people are still in pain, it is stupid to make their donation. When confronting public anger, the authority exercises its power again by removing all the news from the Internet. With the rise of social media, how can they still believe that they can cheat people like this?
  • http://filip.stir.org Filip Stojanovski

    An English-language article by Horace Lu about Chinese bloggers’ reactions published on Shangailist has been translated into Macedonian by daily newspaper Utrinski Vesnik.

  • thomas

    The decision to donate was made well before the accident. Look at it from this perspective.

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