The story appears on

Page A8

December 11, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Nation

Death toll accurate: officials

OFFICIALS yesterday denied rumors that the death toll from Monday's school stampede in Hunan Province was higher than the official figure of eight children killed.

"We have carefully verified the figures," said Zhou Haiqiu, the publicity chief of Xiangxiang City Committee of the Communist Party of China in Hunan Province.

"The whole city was deeply saddened by the tragedy. No one would callously conceal the deaths. All the students are from Xiangxiang and it would have been impossible to cover up the death toll. The parents would have known."

The city's health bureau said seven boys and one girl, aged from 11 to 14, died from suffocation at the privately run Yucai Middle School.

Some parents, however, were skeptical of the official figure. An unnamed relative of dead student Gong Jian told reporters eight children died at the scene, but that he had heard another had died in hospital on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the city committee said the families of the dead students would get about 350,000 yuan (US$51,200) each in compensation, according to an agreement reached between the parents and the school.

All eight families had signed the compensation agreement by late Wednesday, the spokesman said.

As of yesterday, 20 of the injured students were still in hospital and six others had been released.

Hu Mengyu, 12, one of five seriously injured in the stampede, regained consciousness on Wednesday. Still unable to talk, she wrote that she was "sad" and unable to recall what happened.

"She wrote that she wanted to see her teachers and classmates," Hu's mother Zhou Tai said from the intensive care unit at Xiangxiang Second People's Hospital. "She was asleep when her teacher visited."

Yucai Middle School has revamped its safety rules by rescheduling classes to avoid overcrowding in the halls and stairwells.

The school has 3,626 junior high students stuffed in 52 classrooms. Each class averages 70 students, surpassing the maximum of 50 set by the city's education bureau.

"The school is overcrowded," said Liao Weiqian, Party chief of the city's education bureau.

The government provides a subsidy of several hundred yuan each year to the school for each student in compulsory education. The subsidy is limited to 50 students per class.

"We don't grant subsidies for surplus students in order to discourage schools from recruiting too many pupils," Liao said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend