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Discussions on Weibo over 10-Year-Old Girl Attending School Event with Fever and IV Drip

Is this father doing the best or the worst for his daughter? Views are divided on Weibo.

Manya Koetse

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On May 4th, Chinese reporters captured how a sick 10-year-old girl attended a Hengshui High School Open Day event while hooked to an IV. The video report went viral on Chinese social media, triggering discussions on the parental pressure faced by children to succeed in school.

A 10-year-old girl from Hengshui, Hebei, has attracted the attention on Chinese social media after reporters interviewed her while visiting an Open Day of a local school. The girl was ill and hooked up to an intravenous drip.

On May 4th, the Hengshui High School had its annual Open Day and information event when reporters captured the girl walking together with her father, who was holding her IV drip.

The father told Pear Video that his daughter had a fever of 38 to 39 degrees for four consecutive days, for which she had an IV, but that they still wanted to visit the Open Day to “take in the atmosphere,” saying it is the girl’s “dream” to get admitted to the school.

The man further said that he himself is “uncultured,” but that he hopes his daughter would be an educated person, and that she will “definitely pass” the school’s entrance exams.

With over 14 million views, the hashtag “Girl with IV Drip Visits Hengshui Middle School” (#女童边输液边参观衡水中学#) became one of the top trending topics of the day on Weibo.

Many commenters condemn the father for pressuring his daughter to succeed in school and for not prioritizing her health. “At the age of ten, there’s still some years before middle school – it’s not something to be concerned over at this point,” some say, with others calling the father’s attitude “scary” and “horrible.”

There are those netizens who blame the father for letting his child make up for his own “uncultured” status.

Hengshui High School is a prestigious high school in Hebei Province that was established in 1951, and that is known for its strict regulations and harsh study schemes.

Academic Stress Starts Early

China’s educational system has nine years of compulsory education, starting at the age of six. After elementary school and junior high, the majority of children continue studying at a vocational school or (senior) high school, for which they will have to take an entrance exam during their last year in junior high.

The gaokao (literally: ‘higher exams’) are generally regarded the most important moment in a student’s life. They are a prerequisite for entering China’s higher education institutions and are usually taken by students in their last year of senior high school. Scoring high grades for this exam can give high school students access to a better college, which enlarges their chances of obtaining a good job after graduation, and are therefore seen as life-changing.

All the schools leading up to the gaokao, from elementary to high school, could potentially give children an academic advantage. Attending the best schools from an early age is a strategic move on the road to educational success. This also means that children as young as ten could already face much pressure to succeed.

In 2017, the suicide of a 10-year-old girl from Jiangsu province made headlines in China. The young girl stated in her farewell message that she wanted to go to heaven because she was “not doing well in school.”

In November of 2014, the suicide of a 10-year-old boy from Guangzhou after his mid-term exams also shocked netizens. The boy, who received just 39 points for an English exam, hung himself after writing about his low grade in his diary. A year prior, in 2013, another 10-year-old committed suicide by jumping from a building after being scolded by a teacher after failing to complete an assignment.

Rising out of Poverty through Education?

Despite all the commenters on Weibo who condemn the 10-year-old’s father for taking his sick daughter to an Open Day, there also many who jump to his defense.

“What other way to change your poor lower class status than by studying hard?” one person writes: “Our college entrance examination system is really fair (..) As a poor child, you can continue to work hard, and one day, you will stand out from the crowd for it.”

“Every time I see news like this it makes me feel bad, but I can also understand,” others say.

It is not known if the girl and her parents indeed come from a poor family, nor have their names been disclosed.

“I sympathize with this dad,” another Weibo user writes: “He doesn’t know what it is to study, but he’d do anything to make his kid [study]. I went through the same thing as a kid. Due to chronic tonsillitis, I’d run a fever three times a month (..) but you can’t make your illness stop you from studying. I can only say that our generation will rise and make sure the next generation will grow up happier.”

Many commenters contradict those who condemn the father, saying he is just doing what he thinks is best for his child: “It is clear that he really loves her.”

But the polarized views on this issue still stand, with some writing: “What scares me the most is all these people who think the father is right.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Insight

Noteworthy Weibo Moment: Qingdao Government Account Shows Support for LGBT Community

“The best official account post I’ve ever seen on Weibo.”

Wendy Huang

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Some netizens are moved to tears to see an official government account making a public statement in support of the gay community.

Just a day ahead of the 2019 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (May 17), a Qingdao government social media account has attracted the attention of Chinese netizens for showing support to the gay community.

On the night of May 15, the Information Office of Qingdao Municipal Government published the noteworthy post on its official Weibo account Qingdao Fabu (@青岛发布), which has over 3,8 million followers.

“In a world of equality, let all people turn away from homophobia” (“在平等世界里,让所有人不再恐同”), the post said, commenting on the recent trending news of a 15-year-old boy who came out as gay and posted a suicide note on his Weibo account.

The incident shows us the difficulty and hopelessness homosexual people are suffering. The world should be equal and free, and as the International Day Against Homophobia (#517不再恐同日#) is nearing, let’s call on the people around us to express our love of equality and kindness,” the post said.

Within a day after it was published, the Qingdao Fabu post was shared over 30,000 times and received more than 23,000 likes.

 

A Weibo Suicide Note


 

The Weibo user referred to by the Qingdao local government account had posted a lengthy letter on the night of May 14. Using an anonymous Weibo account (@用户7138253812), the author, identifying himself as a 15-year-old boy from Qingdao, came out as gay and shared his pain and grievances over the pressure he faced.

Because the boy wrote he wanted to “leave this world forever” and ended his post with a farewell, many people became worried about the boy’s mental state and whereabouts.

In the early morning of May 15, the official Weibo account of Qingdao Police (@青岛公安) posted an update, stating that the boy was found safe after running away from home.

Later that day, another post was published on the same anonymous account saying: “Thank you everyone, everything is fine.” The farewell note has since been deleted. See a full translation of the text below this article.

 

Qingdao Official Account Receives Praise


 

With its post supporting the young gay man and the LGBT community at large, the Qingdao Government official news account is receiving hundreds of comments praising them.

Besides their original post, the Qingdao government account also posted a total of nine different quotes relating to LGBT issues, including one from Taiwanese film director Ang Lee saying “There’s a Brokeback Mountain in everyone’s heart.”

Another one stresses the fact that homosexuality is not a mental illness, with yet another quote mentioning that the Netherlands became the first country in 2001 to legalize same-sex marriage.

The reposted quotes were originally published on the Weibo account of Sina Shandong (@新浪山东), the official Weibo account of Sina’s Shandong Province Branch.

As the Qingdao Weibo post is gaining more popularity on Weibo at time of writing, these are some of the popular comments below:

  • “This is so awesome for an Official Weibo account!”
  • “That an Official account would post this.. seeing this makes me tear up. I will always support equal rights.”
  •  “I’m crying, this was really sent out by an Official account.”
  • “This must be the best Official account post I’ve ever seen on Weibo.”
  • “Let’s give it up for Qingdao!”
  • “This means progress!”
  • “I’m not from Qingdao, but I will follow this account from now on. This [post] shows you have guts.”
  • “I feel proud to be from Qingdao.”
  • “I am so moved by your post. Thank you for your support. I hope your light will shine on all the people.”

Over the past few years, Chinese social media have seen many times when gay content was censored.

One important moment occurred in 2017, when the China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA, 中国网络视听节目服务协会) issued new criteria to strengthen regulations over online audio-visual content on Chinese platforms. One of the new regulations regarded the removal of online content that “displays homosexuality” (“展示同性恋等内容”), grouping homosexuality together with incest and sexual perversity as “abnormal sexual behavior.”

Although it is very noteworthy for an official government account to publish social media posts that strongly support the gay community, it is not the first time it has happened.

In July of 2017, the official account of the Communist Youth League of Fujian published a post that stated “Being gay is no disorder!” Many netizens at the time, like today, said the unexpected support moved them to tears.

Sometimes on Weibo, it’s the little posts about big matters that seem to matter the most – especially when they come from a government-run source.

 

Full Translation of Suicide Note


 

The suicide note in question has been deleted from Weibo, but The Beijing LGBT Center translated the text and posted it on its Facebook page.

Please note that the following translation is not a What’s on Weibo translation and that all credits for this translation go to the Beijing LGBT Center. Follow them on Facebook here:

I am from Qingdao and am a 15-year-old student from Laoshan No.8 Secondary School.

I am a homosexual. I never expected I would be able to utter this word.

Growing up a frail and meek boy, I am that ‘fem’ everyone is referring to. An easy target, bullied, assaulted, teased, abused, and shunned by classmates and teachers alike. This is how I grew up, and so did many other gay children. Naive as I was, I did not fight back or told anyone about my feelings. I was afraid, and am still afraid of this world. I acted strangely and they called me lunatic, but I know that was my only way to protect myself. After I tried in vain to fit in, I chose to close myself from this world, and this is how I lived my childhood.

By sheer luck, I had a short childhood. I started to realize what’s ‘strange’ with me in grade 5 or 6. I remember how I exulted when I first read about affirmative answers about gay on Zhihu (Chinese version of Quora). But I was soon overwhelmed by those derogatory, abusive, and hurtful answers. I cried the whole night and yet I put my mask back on the very next morning. What people saw as maturity in me was in fact avoidance and isolation.

Things got a little better in secondary school because I am a top student. There was less bullying but I reminded that fem guy teased and mocked at by everyone. Among the worst was my class teacher, Chen Feng. For two years he inflicted me with corporal punishments. Listening to him indoctrinating his banal views was pure suffering. I’ve got enough of his so-called masculinity values, his genders have their fixed roles, his homosexuals are modern perverts. Yet he is not alone among his peers and colleagues. I have had enough of my teachers’ cursing, smearing, ridiculing, and insulting anything related to gays. All their rubbish made me sick and isolated.

Gradually I become irritable and violent. I came out to my mother rather abruptly. Though she seemed to have acquiesced it, I was giving in to the pressure and thinking about ending everything. I have no idea what happened to me and I know choosing death is not courageous, but rather an act of cowardice. I chose to avoid my family and I knew my indifference and avoidance hurt them, especially my mom, the one person who loves me the most.

My father is a weak and arrogant scum and inflicted my mother her whole life. He broke down my door when I was most vulnerable and isolated and banged my head on the wall. At that moment, I only wished he could kill me. But he was stopped by my sister.

Just now, my so-called “family” once again stormed my room and hurled their most insulting curses at me. I realized that my mom might be the only person who can accept me in this world. Or maybe she was just pretending too.

This is not the first time I’ve thought about dying to end it all. Just a few days ago, I scaled high trying to leave all these sufferings. When I called my mom to hear her voice one last time, I hesitated, climbed down and wandered for miles away from home.

Now I have once again escaped from home with that scum’s phone in my hand. Yes, this account is my father’s. I want to tell the world what I’ve always wanted to say and to do. And then leave this world forever.

I understand living on might be the better choice. I could have a bright future and watch this world getting more open and inclusive. But I have had enough. I am sorry to have vented everything on here, and I am sorry to be so weak my entire life. I wanted to do something for this world but in reality, I can do nothing. I know, China will not have its own Stonewall; its people can put up with anything. I am losing control of emotion…

I apologize for my cowardice. To be honest, I am not innocent. But even if I had the courage to change the world, a stab in the back could have easily killed me. I have chosen to solve the radical question with the radical way.

I love you all, the kind and beautiful people of conscience, I trust you to make the world better. If there were a heaven, I will send my blessings…I wish my story will be a faint voice to your fight.”

Also read:
* Communist Youth League: “Being Gay is No Disorder!”
* Why the Gay Kisses in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Won’t Make It to Chinese Cinemas
* Weibo Administration: “We’re No Longer Targeting Gay Content”
* China’s Online Gay Revolution and Rainbow Warrior Geng Le

By Wendy Huang and Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. Please note that your comment below will need to be manually approved if you’re a first-time poster here.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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China Insight

Tears, Outrage, Protest, and Censorship over ‘Fake Major’ at Nanjing School

No diploma, no credentials: they were supposed to graduate, but are now left empty-handed as it turns out their Nanjing college was never qualified to teach them.

Manya Koetse

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Students who studied Nursing at the “Nanjing Institute of Applied Technology” for the past three years are unable to get a certificate or degree, as it now turns out they have actually been doing a fake Major. The news has led to outrage and despair among students, parents, and netizens. Local police cracked down on student protests at the campus this weekend.

Over the past few days, the Nanjing Institute of Applied Technology (南京应用技术学校) has been at the center of a major controversy that has been dominating discussions on Chinese media and on social media.

Students who registered for the school’s Nursing Program, and who were about to graduate after three years of studying, were shocked to discover that their school was not qualified to offer their program and that there were issues with their registration. Chinese media describe the school’s program as a ‘fake Major’ (假专业).

Although the students completed required Nursing courses, including internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, they are now unable to get the proper credentials to do an internship or to be employed in the medical field, since they are not officially qualified.

News of the scandal first came out through students who said their teachers informed them on April 22nd that they would need to transfer to another vocational school in order to receive proper credentials.

According to Chinese news outlet The Observer, the situation applies to all students of the school who started their studies there in 2016 and after.

The Nanjing school was reportedly established in 2003 and received approval of the relevant departments to operate as a full-time vocational school. The school is privately-run but supervised by the Nanjing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau. There are currently over 6000 students enrolled in the school, according to its official website.

Students enrolled in the ‘fake’ Nursing program paid an annual tuition fee of 16000 yuan ($2377).

Over the past weekend, conflicts erupted at the school campus. Footage and photos flooding WeChat and Weibo show dozens of students clashing with security staff, and police cracking down on protests. At least one female student was allegedly beaten by a security guard.

Official media reported that some people who had previously been expelled from the school had used the situation at hand to return to the school to ‘stir up trouble.’

Multiple hashtag pages, posts, and videos relating to the incident were removed from social media site Weibo.

The Nanjing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau responded to the issue of the ‘fake school’ on Monday, April 29, stating that besides the Nanjing Institute of Applied Technology, there are two other schools involved in this matter: the Nanjing Oriental Arts & Science College (南京东方文理专修学院) and the Yingtian Vocational and Technical College (应天职业技术学院), which are both private colleges that have also been approved by the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education.

In an online statement, the Bureau explains that the Nanjing Institute of Applied Technology started working together with the Nanjing Oriental Arts & Science College (南京东方文理专修学院) in 2015 in running a school without reporting it to the relevant departments for approval.

The Bureau further states that it is “actively searching for a solution” in this matter, and that “maintaining order” at the school is one of its priorities.

“This school is such sh*t, I really feel so grieved for these students,” one among thousands of comments on Weibo said.

Although many threads focused on this issue are currently being censored on Chinese social media, Phoenix News is one of the media outlets that is still reporting on the issue, receiving much support from online commenters.

For now, the students and their parents are still left empty-handed.

“You damaged people’s rights and broke the rules,” angry commenters write on Weibo. “We can’t let students be harmed this way. Now it’s them, next time it’s your own kid. We cannot remain silent.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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