Last month the Chinese government said that the process of obtaining complete information as to why so many school buildings collapsed in last month's earthquake is underway. This week it began reigning in media which have been asking too many questions, even barring grieving parents from protesting. The first attempt at providing answers came this week from the Sichuan Ministry of Education in the form of five key reasons for the number of school-related deaths, which haven't gone over well with many [zh] bloggers.
Well-known blogger-journalist and author Ran Yunfei, who lives in Chendgu, had this to say about these five points in his May 29 post, ‘How are the children wrongfully dead to be allowed to rest in peace?‘
I feel the central government ought to rebuild the Ministry of Education, make Minister Zhou Ji resign as an apology to the nation; rectify the relevant Sichuan Education Ministry officials, and bring those directly responsible to justice. Otherwise, I'm afraid that the central government will continue to lose the public's trust.
Here are the Sichuan Education Ministry's five concluding points as they've been getting spread around online and as posted by Ran Yunfei, slightly shorter than the official version as they've stripped of bureaucratese and rephrased clearly:
2. The disaster struck during class time, so the numbers of collective casualties was quite high.
3. During class time, students were gathered inside classrooms, so there was a large burden on the floors, and during evacuation again they were gathered within the stairwell, and these corridors and stairwells were relatively weak parts of the buildings, so this created definite harm.
4. According to information supplied by Sichuan Education Ministry administrators, quite a few of the school buildings which collapsed in Sichuan province were built quite a long time ago, so the schools were old and unmaintained, and this is a major factor leading to the collapse of some schools.
5. Inherent defects existed in the designs of the school buildings themselves with respect to earthquake resistance.
The transcript of a talk given on May 31st by legal scholar and active blogger He Weifang has been posted to message board website Paowang. In it He focuses on the role of the Procuratorate, the Chinese version of the American Attorney General's Office, should be playing in the legal and administrative aftermath of the earthquake, seeing it as the most suitable body to provide that degree of oversight.
He makes several points to that effect, starting off with calling for the need for the Procuratorate to be ensured independence as it carries out its work in, among many things, overseeing compensation given to parents to children lost in the earthquake, transparency as those responsible for things like the ‘tofu dregs’ construction of school buildings are sought out, seeing that the practice doesn't continue as new houses and buildings are constructed, and at the same time, ensuring those eventually brought to trial are guaranteed a fair trial and not one aimed at placating an angry public.
The key suggestion He makes however, is the activation now of article 71 of China's constitution, which he says has never been put into effect: