Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have placed families who lost children in the devastating earthquake of 2008 under house arrest ahead of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy on May 12.
More than 80,000 people, thousands of them schoolchildren, died in the quake that devastated mountainous regions of Sichuan, flattening the majority of school buildings and prompting widespread public anger over corruption allegations linked to shoddy construction standards.
But one decade on, parents say their campaign for compensation and for financial assistance promised as part of the reconstruction program has drawn a blank.
Instead, many are now under close surveillance or house arrest to prevent them from taking their complaints to the ruling Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, they told RFA.
Quake parent campaigner Sang Jun, who lost his son in the collapse of the Fuxin No. 2 Elementary School in worst-hit Mianzhu township, said he is currently under round-the-clock surveillance by state security police.
“I have had state security police here for a couple of days now, people watching me,” Sang said. “This is because I and some of the other victims’ families boarded a train for Beijing, but we were brought back by officials from Zhengzhou, who persuaded us to come back.”
Full story: rfa.org
Reported by Qiao Long and Gao Feng for RFA’s Mandarin Service, and by Wen Yuqing for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
Copyright © 1998-2018, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036. http://www.rfa.org.