Students' Internet video provokes rage

By Zhang Xi (
Updated: 2007-05-30 10:32

A five-minute video on the Internet stirred up nationwide anger from web surfers May 25. This video was shot in a classroom in which some students verbally abused their elderly teacher.

A video footage shows a student taking the cap off his teacher's head in a classroom. []

At the beginning of the video, over 20 of the students ignored their teacher who was lecturing in front of the classroom by chatting and laughing with each other. About one minute later, a male student wearing an earring suddenly ran towards the platform the teacher was standing on, and took the cap off the senior's head. Others began to laugh at the white-haired teacher and jeered at him.

The teacher did not discipline the students but instead continued his lesson when the student returned to his seat. However, his tolerance did not stop the student's improper behavior. He then threw a plastic bottle to another boy who then threw it at the blackboard. And then, the first teenager started to verbally abuse the teacher, at which point the rest of his classmates burst into an uproar.

Meanwhile, two girls hoisted their fingers in a "V" for victory in front of the video camera. But when the teacher expressed his dissatisfaction to the students, the troublemaker threatened to beat him. At the end of the short video, the student went back to his seat after his classmates persuaded him to sit down.

The video was posted on a blog and promptly got 5,000 hits and hundreds of angry comments in three hours. The original poster took off the video that night. But before it was taken down, the video clip was copied and posted by other Internet users on several websites and forums, like Tianya and Maopu, making web surfers even angrier after seeing the video.

Many viewers started to look for the name of the school and identities of these students. By examining the video, the students' uniforms, the layout of the classroom and the content on the blackboard revealed this event happened in Beijing Haidian Art Vocational School, according to some netizens.

Sun Xinmao is surrounded by reporters in front of the school gate on May 28, 2007. []

After the school was identified, some hackers attacked the school website several times and left messages on the site to condemn the involved students. More surprisingly, someone revealed four mobile phone numbers on Baidu website, and claimed they were the student's phone numbers.

However, according to an investigation by Beijing News, the owners of these numbers were not those students and so they were annoyed by the volume of calls and text messages with abusive languages, which forced them to switch off their cell phones.

This event entered a new stage on May 28 when people appeared in front of the gate of the vocational school hoping to find the involved students. This confused and scared innocent students, who dared not to go out of the school to buy lunch during the break. Some students even asked their parents to accompany with them to the school.

The mother of a female student said, "My daughter's teacher has confirmed to me that what had happened some days ago was true. Those students involved have been punished for their wrong deed." She added, "The situation in front of the school gate is not as serious as I thought. I don't think people should condemn those innocent ones."

Sun Xinmao, the nearly 70 year-old teacher who was insulted that day was interviewed by the Beijing News. He said he was not angry since he was not severely abused by these students, and they apologized to him after class.

Although he said these students were not too bad, he admitted they have gone a bit too far that day. Mr. Sun explained, "That boy took off my cap to see whether there is a scar on my heard and he and other students in that class are majoring in drama. Maybe they want to show off in front of the camera so they behaved that way.

"But students are like teachers' children," he continued. "How can we do anything to our children? I'm not defending these students, but teachers are responsible for not educating students well. It's my way to educate students by not doing anything to them because they have apologized to me. "

Xu Suxia, a vice president at the school has reported the incident to the district education department and the Beijing Municipal Education Commission has started its own investigation.

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