CHINA / Regional

Reports: school demolished, students beaten
(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-19 09:44

More than 200 people in camouflage gear demolished a school of disabled and mentally retarded children and beat students who attempted to block the demolition, media reported yesterday.

A Beijing court ordered the school to move out last September because it had no right to use the land on which the school was built. A private company that recently leased the land began sending demolition crews to the Zhiguang Special Education School last Friday.

As of Monday, only several buildings were left untouched. About 70 students and teachers were forced to stay in five dorm rooms at the school in Changping District, reported The Beijing News. Another 30 children returned to their homes in the capital city.

More than 10 of the 30-odd students staying at the school are orphans, the newspaper report said.

On Friday morning, the 200 men destroyed a lock on the school gate and stormed into the campus, according to the Beijing Morning Newspaper, citing Chen Ruicai, the gate guard.

The mob branched into three groups. One group formed a human wall blocking the students and teachers inside a zone where the classes were going on. The other two groups began pulling down the houses.

The men kicked open a classroom and collected the students' belongings into bags. They threw the bags of belongings and desks and chairs outside, The Beijing News said, citing Yang Jinfang, an intern teacher at the school.

The mob then forced the children to a playground and pulled down the campus wall, Yang said.

The wall collapsed only several meters away from where the teachers and children were standing, triggering a commotion among the children, she said.

Many children were scared. Several children suffering from epilepsy fell and foam oozed out of their mouth, according to Yang.

Wang Lijuan, president of the school, said the demolishers were sent by the Beijing Xinda Hengtai Co Ltd. The private firm leased the land from the Nankou Farm last Month.

An employee of the company who is in charge of the demolition denied beating students.

The first company leased the farmland for the school in 2002, according to Wang. Then the school was built. More than 1.5 million yuan of charitable funds had been spent on the school.