Chinese Schoolchildren Must Bring Their Own Desks to School

Wang Ziqi's grandmother is carrying the desk on her shoulders.

Wang Ziqi's grandmother is carrying the desk on her shoulders.

From QQ:

3,000 Schoolchildren in Macheng of Hubei Bring Their Own Desks to School

Lu Siling's and her desk which has been tied on the scooter.

September 1, parents in Shunhe town of Macheng City in Hubei province are preparing for their children’s first day of school, and the most important thing is to bring desks to the school. At present, there are over 5,000 students in the entirety of Shunhe town. Before the beginning of the new semester, about 2,000 new desks were distributed to a Project Hope elementary school in the town and the town center school, which means there are over 3,000 children who have to bring their own desks to school as their elder generations did. This picture is of Lu Siling’s mother has tied their own desk to their scooter, while she stands watch beside it.

On the way to school.

Lu Siling’s mother is riding the scooter, carrying her daughter and the desk, heading to the school which is 2.4 kilometers away.

Wang Ziqi's grandmother is carrying the desk on her shoulders.

Wang Ziqi’s grandmother is carrying the desk on her shoulders while Wang Ziqi’s elder sister is carrying a backpack and a stool to send him to school. Although the straight-line distance is only a little more than 100 meters, the grandmother is already out of breath from the weight of the desk.

Wang Ziqi's grandmother is carrying the desk on her shoulders.

Wang Ziqi's grandmother is carrying the desk on her shoulders.

Sister and brother are mad each other ofr a backpack.

Hubei Macheng Changchong village, due to a fight over who would get to use a new backpack where neither elder sister nor younger brother was willing to give in to the other, both were still holding a grudge even at breakfast.

Wang Xiulian doesn't want to go into the classroom no matter what.

First day of school, 5-year-old girl Wang Xiulian refusing to enter the classroom no matter what.

Some parents are paying for "tuition".

Some children who arrived early for registration with their parents paying for “tuition”.

Teacher Xiang Mingxiu are telling several registered children about safety rules.

In the classroom, teacher Xiang Mingxiu is telling several registered children about safety rules. Below the platform, the varying heights of the”desks and chairs” look particularly incongruous.

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The schoolyard of Hubei Nangang Village elementary school.

The schoolyard of Hubei Nangang Village elementary school.

Comments from QQ:

腾讯网友 夜色天空:

Seeing this makes really pains my heart! Our country donates hundreds of billions to America, why not take care of our country’s own people???

腾讯东莞市网友 隐者:

I’m from Macheng Tiemengang Village. I remember ever since 1998 our hometown has been levying road repair money from the peasants. I returned for Spring Festival this year, more than 10 years have passed, but nothing has changed, the roads are still unpaved. The only change is: I see every township cadre and committee cadre of our village is fatter than before.

腾讯廊坊市网友 文刀:

No matter how poor we are we can’t skimp on education, a slogan that’s found throughout our entire nation. Where did the superiority of socialism go?

腾讯网友 临 卿:

Merely 3,000 desks? The money our nation’s leaders spend smoking in a day is enough to make 30,000 desks.

腾讯宁波市网友 y_/mg★、:

It was like this when I was an elementary school student. Now I’m already working, why is it still like this???

腾讯嘉兴市网友 Mr□Y、c:

Seeing this, there a feeling in my heart that is hard to express! Painful! Where’s the Ministry of Education! What do we need you for when you can’t even provide the most basic desks and chairs for classes!!!

腾讯云浮市网友 木偶人:

Our country has already implemented nine-year compulsory education, why are they still charging so much tuition? Is there no one managing things [in accordance with the law] in these mountain areas?

腾讯网友 墨涵:

Tragedy! So many high ranking military officials of the New China [PRC] were from here! Yet 60 years later it’s still so poor and backwards? How would the high ranking military officials –both alive and dead– feel about this?

腾讯临沧市网友 九千岁:

I’ve never seen something like this before. And they have to pay tuition. Ridiculous.

Comments from Sina:

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新浪广西来宾 robalysh:

If those officials had one less dinner out this year, then all of these problems would be solved!

新浪江苏常州 1346720908:

This is an embarrassment of the government, and they children are the hope of the future…

新浪宁夏银川 nxwwh:

Trillions of dollars are placed in foreign banks, yet there’s no money to buy desks.

新浪吉林延边 白衣浪子:

The head of the province’s education bureau can step down now!!!

新浪上海 再别康桥:

I thought something like this could only happen when I was little. Never thought it would still be happening in 2012 today.

新浪安徽合肥 1346722408:

So heartbreaking. And yet it’s funny too, that something like this can actually happen.

新浪上海嘉定 xiashiwei1113:

You guys figure this out for me: how many desks can a bottle of Maotai buy?

新浪广西贵港 1346722216:

When I was little, the school would make desks out of bricks and wood before asking us to bring our own desks to school, never thought that nowadays…


Seeing this I suddenly traveled back in time to my childhood 30 years ago. Fortunately, [at least] her mother has a motorcycle.

新浪吉林吉林市 sjnr2007xl: (responding to above)

I can only say that this country is gravely sick, shameless from top to bottom.

新浪辽宁沈阳 xzbj1215:

Local officials, do you not feel ashamed?!

新浪广西河池 1346727095:

This is the tragedy of our countrymen!

新浪广西玉林 辣笔骁心:

If the education bureau chief doesn’t have a government car, I’ll donate 20 desks.

新浪北京 兴儿:

These desks would only cost government officials a single fancy dinner, a single wristwatch, or the expense of one night of entertainment…
I really have to give it up to this mysterious country, speechless~!!!

新浪广东佛山 六子:

Government officials only know to invest money into construction projects– easier to graft.

新浪贵州黔西南 fgfzs:

When compared to these desks, many things that people nationwide complain about from day to night are actually little things, while no one really pays attention to the truly important things.

新浪湖北武汉 任云光:

I’ve seen too much positive on TV normally that I’m really not used to it seeing things like this.

新浪吉林长春 kingherb:

The local finance department can’t even afford desks?

新浪北京 1346723076:

So dangerous, carrying both passengers and cargo together. Fire the education bureau chief!!!

新浪江苏苏州 1346731730:

Think about the cars that government officials ride in, their luxurious offices, drinking Maotai and Wuliangye… while this is the situation for the vast majority of society. So deeply ashamed.

What do you think? What were your schools and schooling like as a child?

Written by Peter Barefoot

Peter is a born and raised Chengdunese who enjoys drinking with all his friends.

  • Dan

    I get way to many first posts. Afternoon in the UK there is always no comments for ages!. sooo. Butt fudge frilly boots

    • Dan


    • Dan

      and this story as sad, but that grandma is awesome.

    • tai wai

      Do you bring your own sofa?

      • Dr SUN

        had to, it’s China !

  • Kukuku

    5000 years of history and counting!

    • Kukuku Clock 46,000 years of history if we count what may be the oldest Asian, discovered a fortnight ago in Laos. Back then, desks were made of granite.

      • Li RuiKe

        It isn’t “history” if it’s just anthropologist speculation. Who came up with the 46,000 year date? C14 isn’t that accurate. Where’s the data? History means written records of events. China’s 5,000 years is defensible. Genuine bragging rights. Shameful development, though, unless you focus on Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other dispersed Chinese populations. In contrast, in it very short history, the USA has great development. Why? Liimited govt, ethnic diversity and legally-protected freedoms for all. Good recipe.

        • DRaYphLy

          5000 years of poverty ain’t nothing to brag about.

          • kodi

            Yeah no joke! Some guy was proudly bragging about China’s 5000 years of history and I could not hold back the comment I made, “Yep 5000 years and still have the same problems!” I have to say I never saw a little man become angry so fast. I did not mean to say it, but it just came out.

  • Tom Swift

    I get so pissed off at this country sometimes.

    • joe

      I think it’s a case of, “Heaven is high, the emperor is far away.” If the central government attempts to clamp down on corruption in lower officials, the lower officials will grow resentful and stir up trouble at a grass roots level. So, they are allowed to be reasonably corrupt as a means to keep them under control.

      • donnachadh

        You don’t think the ’emperor’ is equally corrupt?

      • althepict

        It’s “The mountains are high . . . “

        • tai wai


          Do you see the word “山” in there anywhere?

  • ChinaPrat

    Whatever, it’s the countryside. These people are fuckin’ doomed anyway. Where exactly is the “socialism” in the “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”?

    • tai wai

      It left when Mr. Deng took over.

      He never said what should happen after “To get rich is glorious,” and “let some get rich first.”

      Apparently, it’s “some got rich, and are now leaving the country.”

      • donnachadh

        Do you think things were better under Mao?

        • tai wai

          Better under Mao? What, are you joking? Is this a joke? Are you trying to be obtuse?

          How is “The rich aren’t giving back enough to the poor in their country” the same as “Everyone should be poor?”

          Again, Mr Deng: “Poverty is not socialism.”

          Socialism only works (even in theory) when a country has enough money for everyone to live comfortably. They’re calling it “Xiaokang Society” now, but whatever, same difference.

          China had no money. Mao though he could fix that by having the peasants produce “steel” instead of, you know, growing food. Of course, everyone starved.

          Deng knew a better path to modernization, but it required capitalism, trade, opening up. This meant some cities, some people would get rich first.

          The money would then flow to the interior, and, bam, socialism!

          But now, the rich don’t want to give up their money. So, they run away, leave their country behind, leave their brothers and sisters to fend for themselves.


      • Dr SUN

        too true, well said …….loud applause

    • Harland

      What, like the countryside wasn’t like this during Mao? At least these people aren’t being murdered by their government. Cheaping out on desks is a huge improvement.

      The socialism is the government directly owning large sectors of the Chinese economy, which is true today.

  • diverdude

    ‘Sixteen Tons’

    Some people say a man is made outta mud
    A poor man’s made outta muscle and blood
    Muscle and blood and skin and bones
    A mind that’s a-weak and a back that’s strong

    You load sixteen tons, what do you get
    Another day older and deeper in debt
    Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
    I owe my soul to the company store

    I was born one mornin’ when the sun didn’t shine
    I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
    I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
    And the straw boss said “Well, a-bless my soul”

    You load sixteen tons, what do you get
    Another day older and deeper in debt
    Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
    I owe my soul to the company store

    I was born one mornin’, it was drizzlin’ rain
    Fightin’ and trouble are my middle name
    I was raised in the canebrake by an ol’ mama lion
    Cain’t no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

    You load sixteen tons, what do you get
    Another day older and deeper in debt
    Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
    I owe my soul to the company store

    If you see me comin’, better step aside
    A lotta men didn’t, a lotta men died
    One fist of iron, the other of steel
    If the right one don’t a-get you
    Then the left one will

    You load sixteen tons, what do you get
    Another day older and deeper in debt
    Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
    I owe my soul to the company store

    Tennessee Ernie Ford

    • the ace of books

      Singing along to this comment. Excellent song, perfect for the article. Hope 可大副先生 agrees.

    • althepict

      Thanks for that.
      Trouble is it’s going to be in my mind for the foreseeable future everywhere I go in China.

  • mrnightcat

    An ex-girlfriend of mine is from near Macheng and I went with her to her hometown on Spring Festival 2011. Even drove by that white building in the third picture.

    The Huanggang area of Hubei along with Macheng is viewed as having some of the most studious children and thus is perceived to have the hardest Gaokao exam in the country. In short, it’s a famous area and many nationally-distributed exam textbooks are published by Huanggang Middle School.

    I can tell you that while it’s sad to see such poor conditions in Macheng, the situation is far, far worse in the further rural villages of Huanggang. My ex-girlfriend went through a childhood of pain and suffering during her school days.

  • Rick in China

    Love this one, “Our country donates hundreds of billions to America”.. is this really what people think here?

    Really sad to see kids having to haul their own crappy desks to school – definitely detracts from all the news about GDP and modernization China’s leaders love to preach.

    • ZlsetrdX

      Indeed! What’s the deal with those donations? That’s a whole new level of… whatever it is.

      • Mudy

        Perhaps he’s talking about this????

        AMC’s new Chinese owner announces a $1.3 million donation to local high schools
        Chinese conglomerate makes donations worth $1.3 million to 12 high schools in the area.

        • El Puma R.

          They say “donate” when it really is “going to USA and EU to spend” ( the money they should be using to get these children some desks).

        • Cleo

          uh to show gratitude and friendship for Americans who help China to prosper? Duh.

          • Rick in China

            That case isn’t about friendship, it’s about marketing. Notice donations were in “educational supplies, movie tickets, etc” — Movie tickets are great donations – especially when viewers end up spending $20 on a snack and drink each :D

    • kaka

      “Seeing this makes really pains my heart! Our country donates hundreds of billions to America, why not take care of our country’s own people???”

      Yes Rick, it is, and he could be referring to one of several notions held by many Chinese, but I am guessing it is related to the Chinese gov’t buying of US Treasury debt bonds.

      Despite their hours of Gaokao revision and obvious superior intelligence, the concept that buying sovereign debt in the form of bonds by one country from another is merely an investment – and in China’s case an investment to diversify their foreign capital holdings in order to avoid earlier unmitigated policy disasters such as over-purchase of US Dollar – is not understood, and is seen as borrowing or donating money to America.

      If he is referring to something akin to AMC’s “donations”, as Mudy suggests, then again it would be as a result of stupidity that he had reached that conclusion, as his maths may be good – but the Gaokao obviously avoids covering rationale thought or basic principles of marketing – so in “腾讯网友 夜色天空” mind AMC’s 1.3 million would be a purely altruistic act from a Chinese company to the poor backward people in the less developed nation of US, rather than a necessary yet cynical act of marketing.

    • donscarletti

      Even though that comment is rubbish think about the Confucius institute.

      Each teacher is paid over ¥10,000 a month for a 10 hour work week.

      Each host school has roughly ¥100,000 to spend on teaching materials, which is probably mostly just squandered by the school.

      Each country has an administrative office, with its own staff, each with high enough pay to cover cost of living in the host country.

      I can see why Chinese might be upset about this money being spent in first world countries while the kids in Chinese villages don’t have desks. Though in CI’s defence, since it is organised from Beijing, the money probably actually goes where they say it’s going.

      Dear Chinese Government,

      I give you ¥15,000 a month out of my paycheck. I am aware that this is because I legally have to, not because of any sense of civic duty on my part and I also know that it isn’t my decision how it’s spent.

      However, if you were to buy desks, books, qualified teachers, etc for Chinese village children, that would make paying feel far less like pissing out a kidney stone.

      Thank you for your kind consideration.

  • BigJ

    I’ve been in crack houses better shape then that school…..and I never had to bring my own chair lol.

    • Rick in China

      Something to be proud of fo’ sho’.

      • BigJ

        Joke home boy.

  • BigJ

    It’s a shame to see that old lady lugging that desk…….How much money would it cost to put desk in those classrooms???? Even if they put the cheapest desk they can find it’s still better then what is going on.Do you think this happens alot in China? or just this one case?

  • elizabeth

    Hey, Mr Chen Guangbiao, over here. Could use some of that spare cash left over from your publicity budget.

  • mr. wiener

    “Seeing this makes really pains my heart! Our country donates hundreds of billions to America, why not take care of our country’s own people???”
    Is this comment in relation to all the T bills China has? God the sense of importance some people have lately acquired.
    That said This village is light years in experience from the type of netizin who is using this examlpe of poor put apon China to bash the west over the head with.

    • Perhaps the family want a well-tested, well-engineered and lifelong desk for their children. This desk seems like one I had when I was at skool – proper plywood, not chipboard and formica.

      • Boris

        It’s also possible the grandmother is permanently glued to it.

        • The Enlightened One

          That’s another thing I noticed. In all of the pictures, why is it the WOMEN that are moving around the desks. Where are all the strong and able-bodied Chinese men?

          Drunk for a hard night of boozing off bai jiu?

          After all my time in China, I have to say… Chinese women are far the superior of the two genders here. Who cares what tradition says…

          • Mudy


          • don

            Don’t you think maybe all the parents are off working in the cities? I see mainly grandmothers taking care of the kids in these pics.

          • The Enlightened One

            I see younger women… and besides, you may have a point… but then where are the GRANDFATHERS?

          • The men are all trapped in a mine somewhere.

          • don

            Go visit a village out in the sticks in Korea-full of old women, and almost no old men-they smoke and drink too much, and die long before their wives. I assume rural China is much the same.

          • Rick in China

            Rwanda… we asked our driver, “Why are all the dudes sitting around at tables together chatting, and women/children carrying buckets of water and fruit on their heads?”

            He said, “The men are busy…planning.”

          • Jennster

            the life expectancy between women and men in china is only 4 years. most developing countries have 6 years gap and developed ones even 7-8. i am pretty sure the men are just lazy and have no pressure whereas the women do all the hard work and commit suicide. in the west these men would be considered bunch of losers. in china they don’t feel ashamed about it.

          • Jin

            its not their job to be moving tables..they’re busy at work making money to feed the family.

  • The Enlightened One

    Doesn’t really surprise me for rural China. A lot of them still live in mud houses, some brick… some straw… it’s like the three little pigs out there… and the government is the big bad wolf.

    China is a strange country.

    • I suppose it keeps the rurals away from the “big bad universities” lest they all come to Beijing to become students and stick flowers in tank barrels or some inconceivably naughty thing like that.

    • don

      This is how my wife went to school in Korea 50 years ago.

    • asdf

      Not really surprising for most developing countries. but whenever stuff like this occurs in China, the government is bad and the country is strange.

      • lonetrey

        I think it’s because it’s uneven.

        Developing countries, at least you know they’re poor or undersupplied. But in China, you mostly see the big urbanized cities so that when you see the poorer parts of China it’s a huge contrast.

  • Getrealson

    They should make the high school students build desks in woodwork/shop class. (If they have it) then give them to the kids to decorate for Art class (If they have it) then use for the year.

    • The Enlightened One

      They don’t have it.

      Well, definitely now in rural China.

      • The Enlightened One

        *not in rural China

    • althepict

      Then, for biology class, stick it up your ass (if you have it).

      • Getrealson

        very helpful – good work!

    • Mari

      Sadly, shop and art classes don’t prepare students for the examinations, so I can’t see them being a part of the education.

  • donnachadh

    What the hell is the first comment about? ‘Our country donates hundreds of billions to America’. Hundreds of billions of what exactly?

    • MrT


    • althepict

      Corrupt rich bastards trying desperately to decamp with their ill-gotten gains before they are tracked down and taken to account by ‘The Underground’.
      You heard it here first.

      • moonmickey

        Correct, people are waking up in China and the gang don’t like it one bit!

    • Dat Ankle

      Maybe the “donate” is people trying to leave the country.

      • Dat Ankle

        *donation whoops

  • Peye

    How about a donation of desks from IKEA, Walmart,Apple, Mercedes,BMW.Foxtron and all the others who are making their fortunes in China

    • elizabeth

      The world does not owe you a living.

      • El Puma R.

        OH really? so what the fuck then, you’re right, let these kids starve to death too, no one could care less. Seems to me you don’t see the big picture, Elizabeth.

        • elizabeth

          Yes, nobody owes us a living. It is an individual’s responsibility to take care of himself and his dependents.

          I read Cleo’s point of view and also the extreme liberals’ demands. For me, charity is a gracious act, voluntary, not to be forced out by throwing obligation on those who have more. That’s why corporations are taxed. The ones you should be targeting are the governments who tax and distribute that revenue, not the ones who provide jobs and operate in a market of willing buyers and sellers.

          To me, there has to be a middle ground. 100% welfare, and you will get free-loaders living on other people’s hard-earned money. Conversely, insisting that everyone has to work for his livelihood with zero assistance from the government is a setup for a world without compassion, a ‘dog eat dog’ world.

          The key is balance. I am skeptical whenever anyone swings 100% left or right because it indicates that persons advocating their stand do not, ironically, understand other people’s point of view.

          And as usual, you will have the habitual vendetta going round on a witch-hunt for missionaries with diatribes unrelated to the issue because it is just so fashionable to jump on the bandwagon where you will not be singled out for a personal vendetta.

        • linette

          ……….nobody owes us a living………………
          I agree. In this world it’s almost always the poor and uneducated people having tons of kids that they can’t provide. The rich and educated don’t want to have kids. In country like China kids die of sickness and starvation. In country like USA, it’s the working class taxpayers raising the kids for the poor. That is why I truly think China one child policy is the best law created by mankind since the “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal……” in the Declaration of Independence of America. China really need to enfore this one child policy law. All women should be permanently sterilized after her first and last child no matter who’s the father. If she wants more kids she can adopt.

          • elizabeth

            linette, it will be a very sad world if people have to be forced to do things instead of being encouraged to take responsibility for their own actions.

            I won’t want to be sterilized, not to mention being forced to.

          • linette

            elizabeth, I know it sounds inhumane to have doctors perform permanent sterilization on these women. But unfortunately if you don’t do it, chances are she will keep trying for more sons. Even if she has to throw her baby girl into the river. Only because she wants sons to financially provide for her in her old age. That is the mentality of these poor uneducated people. I rather do that than watch baby girl die. You can still enjoy motherhood by adoption.
            China needs to control population. The short term temporary solution is be strict on enforcing the one child policy. They need to fix corruption within their system. Take the money and invest it into building better living environment for the rural people. When they start getting better education, they won’t be having so many kids that they can’t provide. Then you can stop the one child policy and sterilization.

          • elizabeth

            Hmmm…sounds like a good temporary compromise, but I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with forced sterilization while they are at it :D

          • Jahar

            I think it would be better and easier to sterilize the men, would it not? No need to make her suffer any more than she does being a wife in china.

          • El Puma R.

            Linette I’ve never disagreed with you until today. One child policy is the best… what? You’ve lived in the mainland and you’ve seen how many of those kids behave. My brother and my sister piss me of regularly and I still feel proud of not being an only child.

          • kaka

            Linette, whilst you are correct in much of what you say in terms of the consequences of over-population, and the need to control the reproductive habit of those who can not pay their own way, I’m afraid the One Child Policy is a seriously flawed law, and in no way should be put in the same category as the John Locke inspired US Declaration of Independence.

            I often read you going on about sterilization and population control, and it is obviously something you have thought about and have deeply held views about, but:

            A law can not be said to be good, or even great, if it creates problems in the future that are equal to if not far greater than the issue they were originally designed to solve.

            When the One Child policy was devised, anyone with a basic notion of population dynamics would have realised that it would lead to an inverted population pyramid – the consequences of which are “self-evident”, as if effective it would lead to a birth rate below “replacement level”.

            If it’s not – then basically, rapidly reducing the influx of new bodies in to a population does not increase the economic well-being of the existing population, as it reduces the tax-base, increases inter-generational competition for public services, creates instability in the provision of pensions and other social provisions, affects the tax payer non-tax payer ratio, leads to shortages of both skilled and unskilled labour, creates demographic inadequacies, serves to widen the gap between socio-economic groupings, and so on… and as for what population “greying” can do to the well-being of an economy, Japan was one of the first Asian nations where those over 65 outnumbered those under 15 – with the falling below the “replacement level” no small contributor to it’s long term recession…

            Sterilization, forced or otherwise, limiting the right to pregnancy arbitrarily – along with any other measure to control population growth as a way to reduce social and economic inequality within a society is simply a flawed notion.

            The answer, although this is harder to face, is the reduction of population by removal of those who “can not”, not “do not” or “have not yet”, contribute to a society (whether they did at some stage or not). This means the long-term sick, incapacitated, mentally ill, disabled, and geriatric (old people), and so on – thus removing the burden of their care from the productive members of society and the State in general, without reducing or removing the necessary increases in the lower-rungs of the population pyramid.

            It is, however, easier to suggest the not yet born should not allowed to be born, rather than have to grapple with the deeper and more emotive moral dilemma of Eugenics and Gericide. After all, it is easier to pontificate about an as yet unborn child in China, than it is to consider what is the point of your grandmother back in the US, or a loved one who happens to be incapacitated – especially if you are from a more economically developed and socio-economically balanced country…

          • Wu

            The one child policy isn’t the greatest thing to even be created, but it does cover a topic most people/countries try to hide from. There are too many people on this planet, or there will be at the rate we are going.

            I recall a few years ago one political party down in Australia (I forget who) wanted to talk about it. It wasn’t the focus of their party or anything, just something they wanted people to think about. They got crushed in the next election.

            Forced Sterilizations, too extreme for me. Population controls being enforced in some manner, on a global scale however, that wouldn’t be so bad.

      • El Puma R.

        China is Capitalist and capitalism doesn’t see people, or hunger.. it sees numbers and profit. And you Elizabeth, you’re a capitalist.

        • elizabeth

          You are too quick to judge.

        • El Puma R.

          No, I’m not quick… but you think you know the solution for everything, like those fucking diplomats that never achieve anything except fancy meetings abroad. I read half of your comments and your dependent of this corrupt and inhumane system terminology makes me sick to the gut. You believe so fiercely in a world that’s wrong so deep we can’t even realize how harmful it is for you, me, and everyone else, and like many others you think you know the solution and you expect “governments” to solve your shit. My God if that isn’t dumb, I don’t know what it is.

          Nobody owes us a living but everyone deserves a life, and yes, people hide under words like the ones you use in order to keep looting everything we make for them and stealing our lives. Yes, they owe those people a decent life. And in the west, they use the money to feed the poor and ignorant who will later vote them again and again. Elizabeth you live in a prison within your own mind and unless you realize you are living a lie, go sodomize yourself.

          • elizabeth

            Wow, just wow! What indignation and baseless accusations! And that from reading just half my comments.

            What happened to the big picture?

            I suggest you channel your negative energy positively to helping those you care about in practical terms by volunteering to run projects to give them a life.

            Either that, or provide solutions and suggestions, like I did.

    • Getrealson

      Ikea sells furniture to Chinese same as any country – here’s how it works!

      (1) Company/person manufactures custom/generic goods people require or desire
      (2) Company decides what price to sell goods to people then advertises goods.
      (3) People view goods at advertised price and decide to buy/not buy

      Been that way since the dawn of time. Where in this formula is the part where Company/person must give goods away free because the Government steal, squander, embezzle the funds allocated to for this purpose? do these companies not already pay huge licence/registration/operating fees? Do they not employ thousands of Chinese?

      Get real son!

      • elizabeth

        Agree with you 100%.

        THIS is the big picture.

      • red scarf

        To add as well, Ikea in China, via sales tax, income tax etc are indirectly “donating” money to the P.R. of China’s government. The sole responsibly of the government is to run the country walking a fine line judging that it think it needs and that it doesn’t need. Why should a company, capitalistic at heart, also do the job of that government should be doing if needed.

    • donnachadh

      Well that would be all well and good, if the donations didn’t have to go through the party, where thay have a habit of being ‘hled up’ … forever.

    • C.

      Would that be mighty nice of them? Yes.

      Is it something they’re obligated to do? No.

      Would it, with the right spin, be fantastic marketing? Yes.

      With the heavy everything-Western-is-superior mentality prevalent in China, is that kind of marketing necessary? No.

      And there you have your answer.


    That pic of those two little boys with the “incongruous” looking desks is hilarious….!

  • MrT

    Well there is a simple answer to all this, bang some wheels on the desks!
    It doubles as new toy to play on also!

  • Slob

    That kid in the safety rules picture is using a coffee table as a desk.

    Like a boss.jpg

  • Peye

    My opinion :
    We are not talking about the world , I think we are talking about the relationship of the people who are living on this planet to each-other.

    • Jen in NY

      Absolutely, positively, 100% agree, Peye.

    • elizabeth

      The government/concerned persons could start a recycling project. Those who want to junk their furniture could dump them with the government/concerned persons who will then channel the items where they are needed most.

      Anyone concerned about the relationship between people willing to volunteer for this project?

  • k

    Why not give up desk, buy a big table, sit chairs at it? Or have like 4 tables to make one “pod”, the children sit 2 per desk and share? Or why doesn’t the politicians who run that area, raise donations for these children? Also, why do they have to take their desk to school all the time? Why not leave it there, so they don’t have to carry it next time?

    • Cooljackal

      Unfortunately, thinking like that or doing any kind of “planning” that requires you to think more than 5 seconds ahead doesn’t happen here.

  • Middle Kingdum

    Where is the billions that China donates to the US every going?

    • its going to the CHina FOrex the USA exchanges in its stock market . the entire Wall street and US stock market is run on money sent over from China at the cost of China’s own people but its also the reason that cHINA ends up controling 90% of the world’s manufacturing and mining. those billions$$$ that goes to usa = 720 million tons of steel mined and processed in CHina
      the SOVIET UNION as a CLosed system could only do $110 million tons of steel at its maximum height

      • zeb

        this sounds so far-fetched… sounds more like “we’ve invested our money into the foreign stock market to make ourselves richer” cool… its to bad the money doesnt get seen by the people. also… i wouldnt go as far as to say THE ENTIRE WALL STREET AND US STOCK MARKET is run on CHINESE money? c’mon! now you’re being ridiculous. i can understand rewording a few things to feel proud or whatever.. but thats a bit absurd. dont you think?

  • What? Why didn’t we get custom desks when I was in school? This sucks.

    • althepict

      My custom desk would have been shit-kicking: machine guns, rocket launchers, the works.

      • Jahar

        Mine woulda had one of them glory holes.

  • Gu Kailai

    Don’t laugh. As part of my re-education through labor I’m carrying my own desk, too. It builds character, and I’ve actually gained some weight since it all started half a year ago. Not looking forward to winter, though. Walking in the snow is a bitch.

  • Cleo

    I thought that farmers in China didn’t pay taxes so who pays for education? If these parents were paying taxes, wouldn’t they expect to see their money benefiting their children? This isn’t really communism, more like total capitalism.

    • Wu

      They pay rent/lease or some kind of property tax… I think. Nobody owns land “forever” in China, it’s a public trust. Gettign the right terms is a bit odd.

  • zeb

    Im sorry, but donate hundreds of BILLIONS to the united states? are you sure about that? check your figures. thats absurd! i just cant imagine that. maybe embezzles hundreds of billions into american bank accounts?

    this is not the doing of the govt itself, more of a few who some how slipped into higher positions to rape the less fortunate like a bunch of leeches! china doesnt like being made a joke of. and im sure will in time destroy people like this. literally.

  • Dat Ankle

    Come on, the Education Department cant spare a little for school desks? Wheres the tuition money parents pay going to?

    • Cleo

      My father wouldn’t even marry or start a family after so many times that his older brothers hit him on the head for being born and taking a share of the food. They would eat really fast and then scoop out the rice and any savory out of my father’s rice bowl and eat that as well so my father learned at an early age to eat his rice bowl contents in one big gulp if possible. He said he looked around at his family with an absentee uncaring father that would cost the youngest an education in the New China and thought I can’t let this happen to my kids. Consequently, his siblings children all benefited from a bachelor uncle with a soft touch until he did marry at the late age of early 30s and to them, the gravy train diminished and resented him, his new wife and subsequent children and they let it show because he would never punish them for it.

      I’m not that way but I do have to think if I give all my money away will this solve the problem because there’s something aggressive and unnice about poor people who cynically have as many kids as possible because Confucianism will manipute malnourished children into kicking back their salaries from their first jobs to their last to support parents especially fathers in early retirement. This is genuinely a traditional motive and not at all a love for children. A large family is wealth because it means ne’er do wells can retire early and live off of the kickbacks from both sons and filial daughters. Knowing that motivation and seeing some unloving families makes me think China knew what it was doing with the one child policy. In order to win the war of LIFE, we have to have quality people. Creating America and letting in brunettes did more to teach that than multiple generations of missionaries in China like Eric Liddell.

      • Cleo

        Don’t tell me that people have more babies so they can have more helping hands on the farm. That’s not nice and not a justification. You let a baby have a sad childhood and shortchanged adulthood to serve you and so you can expect a private nursing care set-up? When the quality of regard and affection is just nonexistent, you should have just worked for yourself so you had something to retire on. Kids shouldn’t be free to raise or totally subsidized by the government. I do feel bad for the migrant workers but they didn’t exercise family planning and that is a mistake I would have made if I were in their life situation too but it would still be a mistake. I need to know that people learn from their mistakes. Weakened by povery and hungry for affection means a potential for hanjian who won’t fight for themselves and bananas who marry foreigners out of desperation.

        • Cleo

          I’ve watched so many English language documentaries about China’s poor and most of the time it is the daughters who suffer especially if they have a brother who needs to go to school – is he going to buy her a house or send her to school with his first years’ paychecks?

          You shouldn’t be poor and have kids – it’s a privilege not a right. You did it for ego, loneliness, parental pressure (to tie you to the farm) and it was a mistake. If China had the money, I’m sure you would get subsidized but this is a mean lesson to learn and you have sympathy but I just can’t get over the ROCK in the path because of my dad’s decision to deny himself with no expectation that he would ever marry or have a family because he hated kids growing up denied. Why didn’t you hate it too if you had the same starvation experience???

          • Cleo

            Just to be clear – I feel sorry for all the migrant workers, all the college students, all the girl street vendors, all the underpaid literati, EVERY ONE -but when you decide to bring another life into this world – I get anxious. Is it because you don’t feel sorry enough for your own situation? Because you are blocking your progress. You will never study hard or save enough for your own educational developement or grow a business because a kid is a serious responsibility and if she is born covered in moles, you still owe her adoration and her medical expenses. You don’t leave her outside and run away in the middle of the night.

          • elizabeth

            Cleo, I agree with most of what you wrote but having children should a right, not a privilege.

            If you must insist, insist that those who exercise their right also exercise responsibility instead of expecting a privilege (in terms of charity). They should bear the consequences of their choices and blame no one but themselves.

          • tai wai

            If you must insist, insist that those who exercise their right also exercise responsibility

            So, a conditional right, then? Hmm, I forget, what’s that called?

            Oh, yeah, a “privilege.”

          • elizabeth

            Difference between right and privilege, in layman’s terms:

          • tai wai

            OK, we’ll go with that.

            A privilege is a special entitlement to immunity granted by the state or another authority to a restricted group, either by birth or on a conditional basis.

            A right is inherent, irrevocable, immutable. Any entitlement that is granted or that can be taken away by the state, or any other authority, is actually a privilege.

            This is why the Chinese government has such a hard time with the Western concepts of rights: Rights don’t really exist.

          • elizabeth

            A privilege is a revocable entitlement, while a right is an irrevocable entitlement.

            Insisting that people exercise their responsibility when exercising their right does turn their right into a privilege. They continue to enjoy their right as they bear the consequences of exercising it.

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  • Cleo

    I guess television will influence future generations to devote money and attention on self-development so they will be inclined to forestall becoming parents until it is right for them and hopefully for the right reasons. I don’t see the point of making more Chinese people who will be so sad and suffering and selling their organs to buy an Ipad. The New York Times photographed a Chinatown family over the years and they become sadder and sadder over the years with their three kids – one attending Stuyvesant. I know people like that and they are nice but they work TOO HARD because they can’t speak English and work the typical laborious jobs that pound them and then they get married and have kids because in America, you can have more than one so why not go for it. And because they have kids, they have to work harder, have no time for themselves, no more English classes, not enough rest and I just don’t understand why this is happening to them? They don’t deserve this. They don’t get to have as much fun or be young. And is anyone benefitting from keeping these immigrants like this? Even if their kids get into a good college, it’s not guaranteeing a comfortable future. So did they make a mistake emigrating and then having more than one child. Are we making the world a better place or are we just creating more hardships for poor Chinese. It seems like they don’t get a break and I don’t understand why they are having more babies when they can’t even afford nice things for themselves.

    • expat

      those usually go to America are from the country side, they are foolish and naive, in mainland china, they are also called new rich!,. they got money some how, and do not know how to properly use it. they hear and read so much crap in the books in china, that when a foreigner explains and tells they .”they simply say , its your opinion ” or its not true ” LOL LMAO , ,– thats my simple express towards them!. when they do go abroad usually to college , they often come back 6 months later, simply for not being allowed to either bribe their way through or understand the most basic English level. for much of this, many chinese who do know much about the english language rarely leave mainland china.

  • Cleo

    The NYTimes is reporting that China wants to encourage citizens to care for their elderly parents. I suggest circulating horror stories about nursing homes – google it and probably a few episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit regarding rape vicitms in hospital or nursing homes.

    And Siao Fong Fong’s WOMAN FORTY film from Hong Kong.

  • Me

    Where do the Chinese get this idea that they are donating money to other countries?

    • Cleo

      They want to make friends and be kind because when Katrina floods New Orleans, it echoes with the Chinese who regularly suffer flooding – they feel closer to people and feel hey, maybe they understand us better and don’t hate us as much as their media seems to make out.

  • Jahar

    I sure wish people would read the posts before posting the same thing over and over and over and over and over. Like 10 people posted disbelief in the idiotic post about donating to the US, adding nothing more than the previous poster. they sound like the posters on weibo, tencent, and netease (usually).

    • tai wai

      I sure wish people would read the posts before posting the same thing over and over and over and over and over. Like 10 people posted disbelief in the idiotic post about donating to the US, adding nothing more than the previous poster. they sound like the posters on weibo, tencent, and netease (usually).

      • Jahar

        Yarr. ye be postin the same thing I says.

        • tai wai

          Talk Like A Pirate Day is on Wednesday, September 19, 2012 · in 11 days.

          Me hearty.

          • Jahar

            That day be me birthday. I be preparin to talk to the kiddies.

      • redgirl

        I sure wish people would read the posts before posting the same thing over and over and over and over and over. Like 10 people posted disbelief in the idiotic post about donating to the US, adding nothing more than the previous poster. they sound like the posters on weibo, tencent, and netease (usually).

  • cc

    Burn the schools and send the kids down the mines.

    • Mudy

      you are sir… the great…

    • Cleo

      where POWs can found their corpses still dressed in their authentic Chinese clothing – rotting corpses under their feet like a horrible carpet – all of this happened in the mines owned by Taro Aso’s mines IN Japan – no wonder Akihito’s ugly uncle (ugly even for that family) married into Taro Aso’s sister.

  • Wenqing Yan

    When I went to school in China 13 years ago, we always had to pay a “tuition” and when I grew up in US, I always thought “Wow! School is free here unlike China!” Only much later did I find out that school is also suppose to be free in China too. I didn’t believe it until many Chinese told me they went to school for free.

    • Ryo

      It may seem free but you are just paying indirectly by way of taxes.

    • tai wai

      My wife was surprised that these kids have to pay “tuition.”

      • redgirl


  • Chinese get poorer as the party gets richer. What a wonderful country!

  • Cleo
  • Dr SUN

    second largest economy in the world, the model of a harmonious society.

    Just bring your own desk.

  • Rick Gigahertz

    Let’s establish a fund for the schools – one day per month, all money stolen by government officials goes into the fund, that should tidy up the problem.

    • expat

      5 million people

      1 rmb a person think about that!

    • TehCSiang

      You are right… Just go there in person and donate the money direct to the school… not through middle man (aka government official)… Even better personally donate the item as needed, and pay the children’s school fees as according to the number of students attending that particular school.

  • jeffli

    basic education should be provided by the govt.

    Can Chinese really feel proud of this? really?
    I have never heard this thing n=before in other countries even ones with less than “5000 years of culture and histiry”

    Shame China Shame,

    Oh lets see if we can find a foreigner to blame.

    Lu Xun would crying at this!

    • expat

      I loath people who say this , “Lets blame it all on us laowais!. infact we foreigners know more about the custom, culture and history and law than most mainlanders do, but yet, the mainlanders have this “Pride stick ” up their asses!. I only repect those who have their own minds,good deeds and realist attitude, the rest i simply laugh at them and call them what they are in chinese and walk away a bigger man!

  • moonmickey

    Wonder if they are force feeding those kids the shite that Hong Kong just stood up against.

  • actionjksn

    This is so terrible and they should but that lady in prison for riding a bike with a desk on it. She is risking damage to an officials beautiful car or even a business mans car. That would be tragic and she is just being so lazy. And this article is very offensive because it is not very harmonious. They should not make the government look bad after all the good things the government officials do for us. This is just not very harmonious and I don’t like it. These kids need to just pay their money and carry their desks and be quiet and thankful. The officials are doing a wonderful job for us. I’m in America now and it is so bad here. I’m jealous of all you people who are still there. And it’s so hard to keep from gaining so much weight here it’s just terrible!

    • mr. wiener


    • TehCSiang

      In every land(country) and at all times, there are government(or rather government officials) who are good and bad…. What matters is that are there more of the good ones than the bad ones..

  • Yesway

    People in many other countries should learn from this. Look at how old grandmas drag these desks to make sure the kids can get an education. A lot better than the folks in certain other countries, where fathers want their kids to herd sheep so they can smoke all day.

  • kodi

    What kind of global super power cant buy desks for their elementary school children or offer them free education?

    • expat

      in china, education 1st- 9th grade is compulsory , how ever in villages,mountain sides, and small country side in china, either government or people had not told them about this, this is a scam !, these parents can barely read let alone comprehend modern china law

  • Jennster

    why is han chinese such a farmer race. is it in the genes?

    • Teh CSiang

      Not really… early times, the Han Chinese are classified into 5 categories, i.e. officials, scholars, craft man, farmers & finally business man… The rulers from ancient times realized the importance of farmers(producers of food), placed them ahead of the business class… Even the Chinese(lunar) calender is known as ‘Farmers’ Calender ‘…. The business class is placed last due to the craftiness nature in business.
      In fact, such classification dated back during ancient times, probably from the first known ruler and adopted by subsequent dynasties, especially the Tang dynasty who’s rulers were originally Turkish.

  • Jin

    Why don’t they just send their kids to school that have tables and chairs already? seems like a waste of time and make no sense doing this.

    • sa

      Maybe because it’s a newly developed school.

      • Teh CSiang

        We can see that the building is old (or rather ancient), surely not a newly developed school… Its that there’s no allocation for these schools… Same in some areas in the Malaysian states of Sabah & Sarawak… unless & until exposed by medias, nothing will be done.

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  • GiannaFox

    on an unrelated note, how come I haven’t received any new article emails from ChinaSmack in weeks? thought I became a member or something…did I get kicked out of the site or what?

  • Speaking of education, you can get an honorary doctorate or master’s from a California institute for a $59 donation. No classes, exams, dissertations. Choose from 50+ disciplines. Google LADC Institute

    • expat

      pyramid scheme.

  • expat

    i am an expat in hefei,china and this is why people need to step up and tell simpletons esp. those who come to college in the city and or work in the city, that the truth is, is that these country naive people are being used and manipulated i tell my students in college which is about 95% country born and raised. yet, they don’t listen nor comprehend . It is too late !. unless more of us show pictures, and documents with their faces in it. we must re program these people quickly! or mainland china will never be in its place for the 21st century

    • Teh CSiang

      This situations are still happening in the some places especially in the remote/interior of Malaysian states of Sabah & Sarawak….. Those natives do not have tables to bring along to schools…. Just blame it on the administration of the state/country concern…