It’s an annual tradition in Chinese schools, just as regular as the famed gaokao: military training.
Every year, military personnel teach the public and university students the finer points of what exactly they do. The training is supposed to instill a sense of pride and discipline in the students as well as to have them better appreciate the military. However, this coming together of two very different cultures – civilian and military – doesn’t always happen smoothly.
A military training exercise at a Hunan school resulted in a violent clash between a combination of students and faculty against the officers sent to instruct them, resulting in 42 injuries, Beijing News reported on August 25.
The incident happened on August 24 at Huangcang Middle School in Hunan Province during the freshmen’s training sessions. Images posted online showed medical staff tending to injured students in military uniforms. One photo showed a student flanked by several of his peers, his hand covered in blood.
During the training, a male student was unhappy about the way an officer joked with a female student, and allegedly told the officer off. He was then assigned to do push-ups as punishment. Furthermore, reports said the angry officer stomped, kicked and beat a student.
The incident took a dramatic turn for the worse when a commanding officer began beating some of his male students, infuriated that a group of students had “humiliated” an officer, the report said.
The students’ teacher, Liu Yunjie, tried dialing 120 (emergency services) for medical help, which also drew the officers’ wrath.
As one student recalled: “Some of the male students were bleeding, and teacher Liu grabbed a cellphone and tried to call 120. The military officer leading Class 22 asked him to drop the cellphone. The officer even asked his fellow officers if they should beat the teacher. One man responded ‘Yes,’ and a crowd charged towards the teacher.”
Liu was among the most severely injured victims.
Seeing officers beat the teacher triggered angry reactions from the students, who fought back. Some of the students suffered contusions and fractured bones, according to the report.
Military training for Chinese students often includes military drills, marching and harsh physical training, all of which is meant to instill a sense of national defense, collectivism, perseverance and organization.
Photos: Sina Weibo