China / Society

College's copycat parade review arouses Internet debate

By Wang Wei and Zhang Yu in Baoding, Hebei ( Updated: 2015-09-16 13:31

A copycat military training parade at a college in Hebei is prompting mixed reactions on social media. Some netizens find it funny, but others say a college official went too far in imitating President Xi Jinping's recent review of the troops in Beijing.

In a video that went viral on the Internet, Zhou Huzhen, chairman of the Hebei College of Science and Technology in Baoding, reviewed freshmen during a parade marking the end of their military training.

The video garnered a lot of attention because the scene mimicked the president's military review during the Sept 3 national military parade commemorating the end of World War II.

Similar to Xi, Zhou also stood on a vehicle, in his case, a pickup truck, and waved to freshmen dressed in military uniforms on Friday. Another truck followed with the military officer who had led the student training.

As the truck drove before the students, Zhou said: "Hello students, you have worked hard in the military training."

The students responded by saying, "Hello, Mr. Chief, we are supposed to serve the people."

These were the exact words shouted by the military units during the Beijing Victory Parade.

Netizen reactions to the video were mixed.

One micro-blogger, named moonwanghan, said the video "was so funny, Zhou must be desperate to be a political leader."

"It was truly humorous, but not unacceptable, " said another micro-blogger, Fanxiandeweibo, adding that while no law forbids such reviews, the college should have changed the titles to "Teacher and Student", rather than the "Chief and the People".

Bashu Lishuangzhi offered a counterpoint, commenting that the public should not imitate such a solemn military review. "It's not cheerful or humorous. Schools and any other organizations should forbid such behavior," he said.

Tian Luxian, an official of the school, told Beijing Youth Daily that the review has been a regular ceremony at the school for seven years.

He said the two pickup trucks drove about 200 meters on the school's playground to a gathering of dozens of units formed by 4,000 freshmen in military uniforms.

In the face of the media attention, the Hebei Education Department said the college was a private institution which was free to conduct a review as they saw fit.

One college leader, however, who asked not to be identified, said the review's striking resemblance to the Victory Parade made it unacceptable.

"Though it was not illegal, the behavior that undermines the solemnity of the review should not be encouraged in society," the leader said.

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