Thousands of furious students turned their aggression towards their high school campus in the Chinese province of Guizhou last week, as a gigantic food poisoning outbreak made hundreds of them sick.
The students of Guizhou’s Puding County’s top high school rioted throughout their dormitories, damaging property and smashing windows until government officials were forced to manage the scene and deal with the incident.
Although official reports given by the Chinese government confirmed that no-one was hurt during the riots, they did not mention the food poisoning issues which led to a further outcry on social media. Students posted messages to inform the public of the true reason behind the riots. Tweets explained that the actions were taken in response not only to the severe food poisoning outbreak, but also the frequent use of out-of-date products in the canteen and the absurdly high fees for education.
The origin of the issue remains unknown
At this time, the cause of the food poisoning outbreak is still being investigated by the relevant departments, however medical professionals who were questioned about the situation have refused to comment on the outbreak.
A doctor from Puding County’s People’s Hospital disclosed information that more than ten students were currently receiving care within the hospital for food poisoning symptoms. However, the doctor also noted that none of the students were considered to be in critical condition, and some affected individuals had already been treated and discharged.
Safety issues run rampant
It’s no surprise that Chinese parents are beginning to feel concerned for the safety of their children, considering the slew of health and safety scandals that have taken place around the country. In 2008 for example, the Sichuan earthquake led to the deaths of over 5,000 school children. Since then, experts have uncovered that the reason for the disaster may be attributed in part to the use of “tofu buildings”, or building constructed with sub-standard concrete. The students of the Puding County high school claim that their school is made with the same “tofu building” material, placing significant risk on their safety.
Food safety issues have also been prevalent throughout China in recent times. In the same year as the Sichuan earthquake, thousands of infants fell sick with poisoning from melamine-tainted milk formula. More recently, in November 2014, 3,000 students from a technical college in Guangdong rose up in a similar riot over the inappropriate quality of their canteen food. The students – enraged by overpriced, out-of-date, and poor quality food – smashed windows and computer equipment throughout the campus.