This is an update to our earlier post: Hubei University Students Drown While Saving Children
Last week, three university students in Hubei, China drowned while rescuing two little boys trapped in the Changjiang (Yangtze) River. News of their heroic actions and sacrifice has moved many of the local students and residents, as well as many Chinese netizens. Unfortunately, there is also some controversial news about this incident…
From Tianya: (uncertain where the original post is)
From Xiaonei [aka RenRenWang], the following are all from the people who were there, but unfortunately has been heartlessly avoided by the media!!
Originally, no one had to die. At the time, right beside them was a fishing boat. Those students cried and knelt down on their knees begging the fishermen to go down and rescue, but the fishermen were indifferent, allegedly saying there are often people who drown there and there is a local salvage/recovery team, recovering one body is 12,000, and normally do not rescue people even if they are drowning! That is the road to riches [That is the big story to report!] Why not report that in the end, several university students were left in the river, that the firefighters refused to recover them, saying 10,000 kuai per body…forcing the teachers to fall to their knees.
Being in Jingzhou, I am fortunate to know a bit of this. Below is what a person who was present at the scene said:
It was afternoon, after 2:00, in Jingzhou City Shashi District beside the Changjiang [Yangtze] River, two 12-13 year old boys were drowning. At the time, over ten freshmen university students saw and joined together to create a human chain/ladder entering the water to save them. Amongst them were even those who did not know how to swim and female students. When the second child was almost pulled ashore, due to undercurrents and waning strength, the human chain broke, and nine university students fell into the water, immediately all screaming for help.
Luckily came the winter swimming team and several 60+ year old elderly who helped rescue six of the university students. The remaining three university students drowned. Near where they drowned were two fishing boats, with people on them, but not a single person went to rescue. The firefighters were the first to arrive at the scene, but said they did not have any diving and rescue gear and only tried fishing out/recovering for a while from the riverside. When they returned ashore to go back, they were stopped by several crying university students nearby, so they again returned to the riverside to look around without intention to go into the water, and the Marine Department’s boat only came to look for a while before leaving.
The school’s leaders [officials] only arrived at the scene two hours later, and discussed the 12,000 per body recovery fee with the aforementioned fishing boat bosses. Only then did the fishing boat bosses oblige in going into the water to fish out the bodies.
When they fished out the first body, the observers all cried out, the location of the body recovered not being more than three meters from the fishing boat. At the time, had the people on the fishing boat only threw an oar/stick over, he would have been saved. Standing on the side watching, my heart was very uncomfortable, and when the body came up, the doctor even took the oxygen over pretending to try saving him.
At this time, it had already been over three hours since it began. When the second university student’s body was fished out, the fishing boat boss stopped the operation and said without the 24,000 money, they refuse to recover the last body. Those around raised their voices in anger [blaming them]. Only when the teachers knelt down on their knees in the end did they agree to 11,000 per body. It was after 6pm when the third body was recovered. Up to this point, the two children who were rescued had gone missing and could not be found, and what more, these news say it was the firefighters and Marine Department that fished up the bodies. When you see all of this, you may not be very believing, but carefully watch the news footage/images and you can see the 5-6 firefighters walking in the shallow waters, and not a sign of the Marine Department, so what is the country paying them for? Recovering bodies is supposed to be their responsibility, yet no one from the government came to do it, too disappointing! I simply feel we need to understand more of the incident’s truth. We have a responsibility to let the people all know what the origins of the so-called “heroes” are! The rest I leave to the world to discuss! The above comes from Xiaonei. [...]
Hubei university students drown rescuing people, nearby fishing boat refused to help rescue
Key points: On the day the Hubei university students saved the children in the water, there was a fishing boat stopped no more than 5 meters away from the children. The students involved in the rescue begged on their knees for their help, but the fishing boat boss said “living people we will not save, [only] fish up bodies, 12,000 per body in the day, 18,000 per body at night”, and would not even give their life preserver/buoy. The investigating reporter discovered that there is a local “folk” profiteering salvage/recovery team [organized by the ordinary area residents, not government] that specifically depends on fishing bodies to earn money.
Xinhuanet, October 30 report. Yesterday, Changjiang [Yangtze] University decided, with regards to Chen Jishi, Fang Zhao, He Dongxu, to give the families of the three university students who sacrificed their lives to save others a reward of 500,000 yuan per family.
The community donated over 1,190,000 to the university student rescuers
The heroic deeds of the Changjiang [Yangzte] University students who sacrificed themselves to save others has received attention from people from all walks of life. Many companies and individuals have one after another donated. Yesterday, Changjiang [Yangzte] University made a public notice on their official website: According to an incomplete count, up to 5pm October 29, the total donations have reached 1,191,000 yuan renminbi.
For the last few days, society and media one after another praised the university student rescuers’ heroic deeds. But according to the university students who participated in the rescue, there were a hundred bystanders by the lake where the youngsters were drowning, and when the university students begged the fishing boat boss to help rescue, the boss shockingly explained that they will not rescue living people and will only fish out/recover bodies and thus refused to rescue!
Fishing boat boss, only fish up bodies after receiving money
October 24, 2:10, suddenly someone yelled, “someone is drowning”.
Soon after came cries for help. Within 100 meters of Jiang Menglin (a university student participating in the rescue) at the riverside, two youngsters were in the middle of the water at the riverside struggling to survive. Because it was the weekend, there were many sightseeing tourists at the Pagoda Bay riverside, and over 100 people quickly crowded around but no one went into the water to offer assistance.
Yet parked no more than 5 meters away from the drowning youngsters was a mechanical fishing boat, and 20 meters away was a fishing boat converted into a floating restaurant called “Lan Se Jia Yuan [Blue Home?]“
“Us schoolmates all got on our knees for the fishing boat boss, begging them to see if they could help rescue Fang Zhao and the three people [the three university student who were lost], and the boss said, “When isn’t there someone dying on the Changjiang [Yangzte River]? If a few people don’t die, what do we depend on to earn money, hm?” One of the students that was part of the human rescue chain that day said, “The boss said at the time, [that they] will not rescue living people, [only] fish out/recover bodies, 12,000 yuan per person during the day, 18,000 yuan per person during the night. Give money first, then we’ll fish up the people.”
“After our schoolmates encountered misfortune in the water, had someone thrown us a few life preservers/buoys, then no one would have been sacrificed.” Jiang Menglin said.
“At first, we called the police, 110, 119, and 120 all called.” Jiang Menglin said, and after the firefighter arrived, they said they too are not a specialized search and rescue team, [so] they couldn’t rescue.
Jingzhou City winter swimming team’s captain Wang Jue confirmed to journalists the incident of the university students begging on their knees being met with refusal by the fishing boat boss that day. Han Deyuan, a participant of the rescue, said, “If that fishing boat had helped rescue, then no one would have died.”
“There are a lot of drowning victims around the Pagoda Bay area, and as a result there are often fishing boats parked nearby, ” Han Deyuan said, “The price [for fishing out bodies] is very high, so normally the fishing boats do not rescue people who are still alive, and only fish out/recover the dead bodies, [because] the price is over 10,000, and even higher at night” “Nowadays, just getting a word of thanks is already pretty good after rescuing them, and most of those in trouble in the water are youngsters, all of whom do not dare tell their parents after they are rescued, so who dares to ask the family for money. Now there is already a “folk” profiteering salvage/recovery team that has formed, specifically depending on this [fishing out people] to make money.” Han Deyuan explained.
Relevant departments are currently investigating the “Fisherman Incident”
Regarding the “Fisherman Incident” that has been spreading on the internet, the day before yesterday, Jingzhou propaganda office director Xiong also gave a reply. Director Xiong said, relevant departments are already investigating. However, with regards to whether there will be punishment after the investigation, Director Xiong expressed that since there are currently no laws or relevant regulations that say receiving money for fishing out bodies is illegal, even after the results of the investigation, punishment is not realistic.
Although this news has outraged many, there are also many reports and images of the people who have been touched and inspired by the unfortunate loss of these brave university students…
Tens of thousands of people send off the courageous university students
2009 November 1 UPDATE:
A new post on Tianya includes some candid photos of the fishing boat boss and suspicions that the fishing boats have some connection to black society or organized crime.
Also in this post are five public demands by the families of the three university students who drowned to the government:
The victims’ families’ five requests/demands:
- The government organize an official investigation team to investigate the true circumstances surrounding the three university students’ going into the water to save people and meeting misfortune.
- Investigate why the nearby fishing boat refused to help, the fishing boat owner using the opportunity of rescue to demand high fees from the teachers and students, whether delay of rescue is against the law, and are they are responsible/liable?
- Local people claim that the fishing boat from the day of the Pagoda Bay incident has black society [organized crime] background/connections, that they monopolize the recovery of bodies [from the river] seeking high profits, and not only do not rescue people themselves but also forbid others to rescue, and refuse to rescue even when they see people in danger, may the government investigate.
- Request investigation of whether the public security, marine department, and other departments attempted rescue in a timely fashion, and whether or not there was any situation of inaction or slow action.
- Application for the government to publicly release the progress of the investigations and the results of any actions taken to the families and society.
2009 November 3 UPDATE:
This picture is spreading on the internet today. It shows the fishermen after they have fished up a drowned student’s body and refusing to hand the body over until he is paid. I saw a girl reading this news and looking at this photo on the metro today too.