Here is the translated news excerpt from Xinhua Net:
On Jun 26th, 4 primary school students swept away by a torrent when they linked arms by holding hands, rescuing one of their classmates. Xiao Shuai (alias) was one of the witnesses at the scene. That day, he and other 8 classmates rode bicycles to play at the beach of Lao Bi River. They were all six grade students at the local Chen Tai Primary School.
Some of them went into the shallow water, “But suddenly I heard someone shouted loudly for help, I turned back and found one of us was drowning in the deep water” said Xiao Shuai. Four boys nearby, Tai Dong, Zhang Yihu, Wen Peng and Zhang Keao held each others’ hands and went for the drowning boy, but none of them knew how to swim. Xiao Shuai continued, “They tried to reach him step by step, but finally they all fell into the deep water.” After that, Another 4 boys on shore hurried to continue the hand in hand rescuing.
Although the 8 heroes failed in their rescue, but the process was a great example of collectivism: they held each others’ hands, which means no abandoning and no giving up. And the rescue was quite solemn and stirring which pointed out the ultimate meaning of life. Because life is priceless, we cannot compare the living and the dead but no matter who survived and who sacrificed, they all indicate the beauty of life.
There is an old saying that man can only live a hundred years, but his fame will last for more than a thousand years. These innocent children may not yet learn to gauge the value of life and death, but they reached out their tiny arms with no thoughts of turning back when someone’s life was at stake. The story is highlighted on the “hand in hand” movement: every time they rescued their classmates, they held each other’s hand and linked arms. In their hearts, there is no technicality, no excuses for gain and losses, but one simple logic: To get everybody out safely.
Xinhua News agency and other national media such as CCTV are long known as reporting the positive side of a story and often lacking deeper thoughts on news. This news also was heavily discussed in forums such as Tianya, Phenix BBS and Baidu Tieba, where a senior critic Wei Yang Wolong’s commentary was viewed over 100,000 times. Below is the original commentary:
Nobody should applaud for it that the four children died for saving people
The journalist eulogized four boys which I cannot read any more. What’s that? Four little fellows died but no one was rescued? It’s already wrong not to introspect, but the journalist even promoted it positively, is he going to get more children killed? Is he bloodthirsty? What’s in his mind?
When the news was published in newspaper, it gained a lot of praises and applause. Almost everybody thought the boys as heroes and angels, but few truly thought about whether it was right or wrong and whether 4 lives were worth sacrificing. Actually, it is ignorant to save drowning classmate when they don’t have the ability to. It is also the failure of home education and responsibility of school education, because the boys knew nothing other than playing. Their parents must be idiots or fools for not informing them the danger of deep water and to let them play near the river knowing they don’t know how to swim.
One must have the strength and ability to become a hero. If we don’t teach children the ability to become heroes, how dare we encourage them to become heroes? To act according to one’s ability is how we should respect life. One is abusing heroism when he does not have the ability but insisting to save people.
To grow up safely is more important than success. To let children know themselves is more humane than making them heroes. The responsibility of a society should be taken up by the grown ups, not these children. A man with even a little conscience would know that it is a tragedy when 4 children trying to save one child but all of them ended up drowning. It should never be praised or encouraged. We should learn lessons from it and let our children learn more knowledge about safety and do what they are capable of doing. We should never write a long mews story to publicize it, to praise it and to make it heroic.
Everybody in the society, including parents and teachers should rethink whether this kind of encouragement is proper or not. Should our children mislead by this kind of blind heroism? When can we be less hypercritic and selfish? Humans are born as humans for the sake that we are humane, otherwise we are just animals. We must have guts to take our responsibility and duty than using our power to put risk onto someone else. Encouraging the children who cannot swim to save people is the most shameful education in the world!
(Illustration art by Brian Chang)