Opinion / From the Press

Bad drill instructors damage PLA credibility

By Li Yang ( Updated: 2014-08-26 17:54

The conflict between military drill instructors and students at a middle school in Longshan county, Hunan province, damaged the educational meaning and credibility of such trainings, wrote the Beijing News in an opinion piece published on Tuesday. The following is a translation of the Beijing News article.

The fight between the drill instructors sent by local military authority and the students and teachers at the middle school took place on Aug 24. 40 students, one teacher and one drillmaster were injured.

The conflict shocked the whole nation, because it flippled the public’s feelings about soldiers in China, who are often depicted as “the loveliest people” in official discourse.

The county’s military administration department vows to launch a thorough and objective investigation into the matter and punish the responsible parties according to laws.

While the the local military administration revealed that the instructors were members of reserve forces. The public’s anger still lingers. The question at hand is how the mass brawl happened.

Witnesses said, some of the drill instructors “teased” female students, and this made the male students feel angry. The male students then quarreled with the instructors. The whole class was later punished to do pushups, with some instructors physically and verbally abusing them. The homeroom teacher persuaded the students to apologize to the instructors, the same instructors who had teased the girls.

Things got worse after nightfall. Supposedly 20 drillmasters beat up the male students in the class. When the homeroom teacher called emergency services, the instructors turned on him. Students rushed to protect their teacher sparking a brawl. The fight was stopped by the police.

Locals said the instructors were drunkards, and also fought with students during military training at other local middle schools last year.

If the allegations are true, the “reserve forces” instructors are not qualified to train students, they aren’t even qualified to be enlisted. Drill instructors are supposed to models of discipline and representatives of the People’s Liberation Army. These drill instructors are far from the standard.

The county’s military and education authorities, including the school, should also take the responsibility for this debacle. The responsible parties must be punished with due severity.

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