Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Monday, May 28, 2007 at 6:33 PM
At 4pm on May 25, a video was posted on the Internet. In this video, there were more than 20 students in a classroom for a geography lesson. The students were napping, talking, horsing around and one of them was roaming around filming. One student said: "This is the geography lesson. Watch the show." Then he walked up to the teacher and removed the teacher's white hat. The class roared in laughter. Later, that student went up to the teacher and made for a physical confrontation. Another student threw a water bottle at the teacher while the first student yelled: "That stupid c*nt! Kill him!" The teacher just kept on with his lecture. The video was apparently posted by a female student in the class. Within three hours, there were 5,000 visits and 100 angry comments. The video was deleted at 7pm, but it has already been copied and distributed across the Intenet.
Soong goes on to explain how an online campaign on the Tianya and MOP BBS websites unleashed "human flesh search engines" (人肉搜索引擎) — i.e. motivated BBS users with time on their hands — to search for information about the school and its unruly students. A Tianya netizen "noted that the blackboard had the national flag of Uzbekistan with words of welcome for the friends from there" so he searched for visits by Uzbekistan groups and finally identified the school as "Art School in Haidian District, Beijing".
According to a report in Beijing Daily Messenger (娱乐信报), the school's website has since been hacked (you can see Baidu's cached copy of the website here). Searching for the school's name (海艺学校) on Google or Baidu results in hundred of links to outraged BBS posts and commentary on the affair. The school 's website is not currently working, and apparently the fingered institution denies that the video was shot on its campus.
Youtube and Youku still have copies of the video. To some older Chinese people, the scenes played out in this video may evoke some unpleasant memories of the brutish years of the Cultural Revolution. Or is this just a kid with what they would would call ADD in the U.S., captured unfortuitously on a mobile phone?
UPDATE:Global Voices has translated some of the online commentary about the affair. They ranger the gamut from blaming the system to calling this generation of children rubbish to criticism of teachers and schools.
UPDATE 2: ESWN has translated two extensive stories about the case from Southern Weekly.
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