SUPER: BEICHUAN, CHINA

 

           LIKE CHINESE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE, THE XIN FAMILY MARK QING MING, TRADITIONALLY KNOWN AS THE TOMB-SWEEPING FESTIVAL, BY BURNING INCENSE

AND CEREMONIAL MONEY AT FAMILY GRAVES.

 

         LIKE TENS MANY OTHERS WHO’VE COME HERE TO BEICHUAN FOR QING MING, THEY’RE NOT SURE EXACTLY WHERE THEIR LOVED ONES ARE BURIED.

 

           BEICHUAN WAS A BUSTLING TOWN WHICH WAS TURNED INTO A GRAVEYARD IN AN INSTANT BY LAST YEAR’S EARTHQUAKE.

 

          WITH THOUSANDS OF BODIES STILL BURIED UNDER THE RUINS, THE TOWN WAS EMPTIED AND SEALED OFF AFTER THE DISASTER. IT WILL NOT BE REBUILT. THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO MAKE IT INTO A MEMORIAL.

 

           XIN MEI LOST BOTH HER PARENTS AND HER FIVE-YEAR-OLD NIECE

           

          

SUBTITLES: XIN MEI

10.01.09 We are paying our respects for the first time

10.01.12 since the earthquake.

10.01.15 Beichuan has been closed to avoid problems.

 

 

MOURNERS ARE CONSTANTLY REMINDED OF THE SORT OF PROBLEMS THE GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED TO AVOID. POLICE LOUDSPEAKERS BROADCAST STERN WARNINGS AGAINST ANY FORM OF PROTEST.  THE MOST SENSITIVE ISSUE IS THE DEATHS OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN WHO WERE AT SCHOOL WHEN THE EARTHQUAKE STRUCK:

 

STANDUP: After China’s worst natural disaster in decades, there was an unprecedented wave of public sympathy and participation in a vast relief effort. There’s also a strong undercurrent of anger and shame over official corruption.

 

             AI WEI WEI, A PROMINENT ARTIST WHO PLAYED A KEY ROLE IN THE DESIGN OF BEIJING’S OLYMPIC STADIUM, IS MOUNTING AN INTERNET CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF PARENTS WHO LOST THEIR CHILDREN:

 

SUBTITLES: AI WEI WEI ARTIST

10.02.14 In our interviews with the victims’ families

10.02.17 We found big problems in the aftermath of the quake.

10.02.20 People who ask questions and assert their rights

10.02.24 are detained , threatened and denied basic rights.

10.02.28 These things are happening                                                                                                                                            

10.02.32 in every single one of the hard-hit areas.

           

              

          

         

              

SUPER: 00.02.36 May 2008

 

LAST YEAR IN THE DAYS IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE, THE RUINS WERE HAUNTED BY THE PARENTS OF CHILDREN WHO DIED WHEN THEIR SCHOOLS COLLAPSED. THEY BELIEVED THE SCHOOLS WERE SHODDILY BUILT BECAUSE CORRUPT OFFICIALS AND CONTRACTORS HAD EMBEZZLED CONSTRUCTION FUNDS.

 

SUBTITLES: PARENT IN STRAW HAT

10.02.55 Other buildings in the same place did not collapse

10.02.59 so there must be something wrong with the school.

10.03.02 That’s the key point

            AT ONE OF THE COUNTLESS SHRINES TO DEAD CHILDREN, LI XIAODONG MOVED HIS SON’S PORTRAIT TO WHERE HE ALWAYS USED TO SIT… AT THE FRONT OF THE CLASS:

 

SUBTITLES: LI XIAODONG BEREAVED PARENT

10.03.21 If the investigation shows the school was badly built,                                                                                                  

10.03.26 that proves senior officials,

10.03.30and those who built the school,                                                                                                                                     

10.03.34 treated our children, the future of our country,

10.03.38 as worth less than nothing.

 

    

  POSTERS AND BANNERS SAID BOLDLY WHAT FEW HAVE DARED TO SAY SINCE THOSE EARLY DAYS OF ANGER AND GRIEF: THAT THE CHILDREN WERE MURDERED BY CORRUPT OFFICIALS.

        ZHANG MIN LOST HER SON, ZHANG AO

SUBTITLES: ZHANG MIN BEREAVED PARENT

10.03.57 The national government is good,

10.04.02  lower level officials are corrupt

 

LIKE MOST PEOPLE HERE, SHE BELIEVED TOP LEADERS ARE HONEST, LOCAL OFFICIALS CORRUPT.

SUBTITLES: ZHANG MIN BEREAVED PARENT

10.04.11 National policies like free tuition are really good,

10.04.16 but our boy didn’t live to benefit from that.                              

10.04.20 All because of corrupt officials

 

SUPER: 00.04.29 April 2009

 

A YEAR HAS GONE BY. TODAY ZHANG MIN WORKS IN HER GARDEN WITH HER FATHER AND A NEIGHBOUR.

           SHE SAYS THE GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATION OF THE SCHOOL COLLAPSE WAS A SHAM:

SUBTITLES: ZHANG MIN BEREAVED PARENT

10.04.41They came to investigate, but did not give us the result.

10.04.46 We never heard from them again.

10.04.49 They only came to calm us down

10.04.53 because we were so upset.

10.04.57 They took samples, but never told us the result.

 

 

HER ANGER AND SADNESS ARE UNDIMINISHED.  SHE IS EXPECTING A NEW CHILD IN THE FALL, BUT NOT A DAY GOES BY WITHOUT TEARS HER LOST SON

SUBTITLES: ZHANG MIN BEREAVED PARENT

10.05.16 The main thing is to go after those responsible.

10.05.20 The compensation I got will haunt me for the rest of my life.

10.05.24 Money is not a cure-all

10.05.28 The compensation makes corrupt officials

10.05.33 believe they can solve anything with money.

10.05.37 It makes them even more ruthless.

 

 

            ZHANG MIN’S NEIGHBOUR GOU XING JUN ALSO LOST A SON. HIS WIFE WAS DETAINED FOR GOING TO BEIJING TO COMPLAIN. SHE WAS RELEASED, HE SAYS, BUT THE PAIN OF BEREAVEMENT LATER TO LED TO DIVORCE:

SUBTITLE: GOU XING JUN BEREAVED PARENT

10.06.01 I intend to fight for justice for my child 

10.06.04 until my last breath.                                

10.06.08 His death has destroyed my family.       

10.06.12 Few people in the world are this miserable.

 

           ZHANG MIN’S SON IS BURIED AT THE END OF HER FIELD… EVERY DAY SHE TAKES A FEW MINUTES OFF WORK TO VISIT HIS GRAVE. SHE HAS ALSO BEEN TO THE NEW SCHOOL BEING BUILT ON THE RUINS OF THE OLD ONE.

SUBTITLES: ZHANG MIN BEREAVED PARENT

10.06.40I ’ve been to see the new school.

10.06.43 It’s really well built. Our dead children

10.06.47 have paved the way for living children.

 

 

               A VISIT TO THE SCHOOL REVEALS WHAT THESE BEREAVED PARENTS ARE UP AGAINST. WITHIN MINUTES POLICE AND PLAIN CLOTHES THUGS ARRIVE.  BUILDING WORKER LOOKS ON AS THEY ATTACK THE CAMERA TO PREVENT FILMING. LOCAL OFFICIALS SEE ANY INVESTIGATION OF THE TRAGEDY AS A THREAT.

 

SUBTITLES: POLICE ATTACK CAMERA

10.07.07 You are not allowed to film.

10.07.10 Who are you? Show me your identification.

10.07.12 We are from the police station.

 

                

                THE CORRUPTION WHICH LED TO THE SCHOOL COLLAPSE IS NOW PLAGUING THE RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT. IN NEARBY VILLAGES, THERE’S A BUILDING BOOM.

THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT HAS GIVEN RECONSTRUCTION GRANTS TO EACH HOUSEHOLD.

LOCAL OFFICIALS ARE STEALING WHATEVER THEY CAN, SAY THE VILLAGERS.

 

SUBTITLES: VILLAGERS

10.08.02 My son was not getting the living allowance he is entitled to,

10.08.05 so we went up to the township to ask for it.

10.08.08 Then the village head finally gave it to us.

10.08.11 If we had not gone higher up,

10.08.14 it would have been embezzled for sure.

 

    WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CONTRIBUTIONS WHICH POURED IN FROM ALL OVER CHINA?

 

SUBTITLES: VILLAGERS

10.08.22 There’s lots of corruption

10.08.26 but we have no way catch them.

10.08.29 All kinds of things were donated…

10.08.32 We heard the village got colour televisions

10.08.36 and motorcycles too.

10.08.39 We never saw any of that.

10.08.42 We don’t know who got those things.

 

 

       AND WHY DOESN’T THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT DO SOMETHING?

 

SUBTITLES: VILLAGERS

10.08.55 President Hu Jin Tao and Premier Wen Jia  Bao

10.08.59 came to visit. That was the right thing, to do.

10.09.02 In lower levels of government,

10.09.05 each level is more corrupt than the one above it.

 

 

 

THIS COUPLE IS STILL LIVING IN THE RUINS OF THEIR HOUSE. THEY NEVER RECEIVED THEIR RECONSTRUCTION GRANT. VILLAGE LEADERS TOLD THEM THE PAPERWORK WAS NOT PROPERLY COMPLETED AND NOW IT’S TOO LATE. THEY SAY NO-ONE WILL HELP THEM:

 

SUBTITLES: VILLAGERS

10.09.29 Now I’ve made a new application,

10.09.32 but the government deadline has passed, The house is half way fixed,

10.09.35 but I have no more money to pay workers to finish it.

 

 

            ON A GRANDER SCALE  RECONSTRUCTION  IS COSTING HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS.   ONE SIGNATURE PROJECT IS AN ENTIRE NEW TOWN TO REPLACE THE RUINS OF BEICHUAN.

       HE WANG IS AN ENGINEER SECONDED FROM BEIJING TO BE DEPUTY MAYOR OF NEW BEICHUAN. HE SPENDS A LOT OF TIME SHOWING INTERNATIONAL DIGNITARIES AROUND THE SITE.TODAY’S V.I.P IS THAILAND’S PRINCESS SIRINDHORN.

 

         LIKE ALL CHINESE OFFICIALS, HE WANG SIDESTEPS QUESTIONS ABOUT CORRUPTION AND THE SCANDAL OF SICHUAN’S SCHOOLS.

SUBTITLES: HE WANG DEPUTY MAYOR NEW BEICHUAN

10.09.38 When buildings collapse in an earthquake,

10.10.25 the causes are complicated.

10.10.30 It’s hard to say whether the cause was the earthquake,

10.10.33 or poor quality construction.

10.10.37 We think that after such a huge earthquake,

10.10.43 the priority is to help survivors,

10.10.47 to rebuild houses

10.10.50 and help people move into  new homes.

 

THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR AI WEI WEI. HIS TEAM OF RESEARCHERS HAS BEEN BLOCKED AND HARASSED NOT JUST BY LOCAL OFFICIALS BUT ALSO BY THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. HIS WEBSITE IS OFTEN CENSORED.

 

SUBTITLES: AI WEIWEI ARTIST

10.11.12 China is becoming a police state,

10.11.15 The use of extreme power and repression

10.11.19 to ensure social stability

10.11.24 is very very difficult and dangerous.

 

             THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CANNOT ALLOW THE TRUTH TO COME OUT BECAUSE IT REVEALS THE FLAWS OF THE WHOLE SYSTEM

 

SUBTITLES: AI WEIWEI ARTIST

10.11.32 I feel this government always regards the public

10.11.37 as untrustworthy and suspicious.

10.11.43 Citizens are regarded as adversaries.

10.11.46 This is a fundamental ethical problem.

10.11.51 This government, never considers itself to be

10.11.55 a tool for the benefit of society.

10.11.59 They always see themselves as leaders and rulers

10.12..04 never as public servants

 

              ON A MAY AFTERNOON A YEAR AGO SCHOOLS CRUMBLED LIKE TOFU WHEN THE EARTHQUAKE HIT. THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN WHO DIED, AND THEIR NAMES, ARE TREATED AS A STATE SECRET BY A GOVERNMENT WHICH HOPES TO KEEP THE TRUTH BURIED BENEATH THE RUINS. PJB CBC NEWS, SICHUAN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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