42 People Injured in Clash Between Students and Military in China’s Hunan Province
According to an eyewitness, one of the students was unhappy about how a military instructor joked with a female student. He argued with the instructor and an altercation followed. The other instructors intervened and punished the whole class: they had to do push-ups, were kicked and beaten with sticks. The student who had started the quarrel apologised to the instructor he had attacked and the incident seemed over.
However, in the evening the commander of the instructors’ team sought revenge. As the classes gathered for the evening session, he ordered the students to be punished. 20 instructors assaulted the students and beat them severely. Female students began to cry. At that point, the teacher of the class, surnamed Liu, thought the situation had got out of control and called the emergency number, but was surrounded by the instructors and beaten, as well. The other teachers intervened and were, too, attacked. The students from the other classes tried to defend their teachers and a fight between students and instructors ensued. 40 students, 1 teacher and 1 instructor were injured; on August 25, 25 people were still in hospital. One of the students later stated that the instructors were drunk.
According to Chinese state newspaper People’s Daily, the same instructors had been involved in similar clashes last year.
Military drills are common in schools in the People’s Republic of China. Their purpose is to prepare students for defending the country, and instill in them a sense of collectivism, perseverance, and organisation. The drills often include harsh physical exercise and marches.