Student death in China raises questions, protests

Taipei, Taiwan (AP) — It was a call that parents didn’t want to receive. Around 9 pm on Mother’s Day, a woman living in Chengdu, southwestern China, was told that her son, who had attended school a few hours ago, had died.

Distracted, she immediately went to Chengdu 49th Middle School, but couldn’t get into the playground, she wrote a series of Twitter-like Weibo posts on Monday and was shared hundreds of thousands of times this week. It was.

Her explanation, which disagrees with both police and local government explanations about the death of her 16-year-old son, became nervous and became one of the most discussed topics on Chinese social media this week. One of the related hashtags # ChengduNo.49Middle # has recorded over 1.5 billion views on Weibo alone. People online sought justice for their mothers and questioned the actions of schools, police and local governments.

A video of the protest in front of the school was circulated on Tuesday night. The people holding the white flowers shouted, “Truth!” Over and over again. The Associated Press was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the video.

The case reflected the frustration of many Chinese in the face of distracted accusations and responsibilities of local authorities in an attempt to seek justice. Many have called on tightly controlled national media to report on the issue and advised women to seek intervention from central Beijing authorities.

The school, which serves both junior high and high school students, said in a statement Monday that the student had fallen around 6:40 pm on Sunday night and was investigating and cooperating with police. A local branch of the education department in Chenghua District of Chengdu said in a statement Tuesday that the incident was suicide.

Police are investigating the death of a 16-year-old student at 49th Junior High School on Tuesday and issued a statement that they have ruled out their involvement in the crime. “The family is not disagreeing,” the statement read. “We call on the public not to believe or convey rumors.”

But as people demanded more information, rumors swirled.

Many wondered if she was silenced by the authorities on her mother’s Weibo timeline, changing her username shortly after the post became widespread and automatically recording it on each post. He pointed out that the mobile phone model has also changed.

Other users questioned why there was a gap of about two hours between the school’s statement about when the student died and the mother claiming to be informed about the news. Why did the school take two hours to inform her of her son’s death? Why couldn’t she see his body on the same day?

Others simply repeated the phrase “family does not object” from police statements.

On Thursday, China’s Xinhua News Agency released a report that her mother met the school on the night of the phone, but met at a local police station out of the way of other students. The school’s safety director said it took two hours to notify the family because the head injury was so severe that the student could not be identified at first.

The state broadcaster CCTV posted a live report from the school and a surveillance video of a student’s fall seen through his shadow through the trees.

The mother, who did not reveal her full name online, did not answer multiple calls. School staff declined to comment, saying they had not been instructed to speak to the media. Police officers at Chenghua District Station led the AP to the station’s political department, but police did not answer the phone.

“In the United States, when George Floyd died in such a suspicious situation, people did all sorts of demonstrations, but when a high school student died in a suspicious situation, we get any kind of real information. I can’t, “said 19-year-old Mike Liu. A one-year-old college student who closely tracked the story online.

A large crowd gathered in front of the school on Tuesday night, saying the restaurant owner across the street named it Bread. He said he saw about 100 people, and police officers and guards everywhere.

Protests in China are not uncommon, but are usually quickly dispersed by authorities.

A photo of the flower, placed in honor of the school gate on Tuesday night, was taken by a photographer from Beijing News, the official newspaper of the Beijing Municipal Government, and will soon be available from the newspaper website by Wednesday afternoon. It was deleted in.

Online, people criticized Beijing News for posting photos, saying the flowers were provided by people paid by foreign troops to cause trouble.


The Associated Press news assistant Caroline Chen of Beijing and researcher Chen Si of Shanghai contributed to this report.