Harking back

Remember those thousands of schoolchildren buried in a breaking heartbeat under their “tofu-style” school buildings? Recall the pity and grief that pierced through you when you saw a photo of a hole in the rubble, filled with the curled, dusty bodies of children in a huddle? Yeah? Good. Don’t forget. Just because they’re not in the news anymore.

Voice Seeking Answers for Parents About a School Collapse Is Silenced

By JAKE HOOKER
Published: July 11, 2008

BEIJING — Three weeks after the earthquake in Sichuan Province, five bereaved fathers whose children died in collapsed schools sought help from a local human rights activist named Huang Qi.

The fathers visited Mr. Huang at the Tianwang Human Rights Center, an informal advocacy organization in the provincial capital of Chengdu, where he worked and lived. They told him how the four-story Dongqi Middle School had crumbled in an instant, burying their children alive.

Mr. Huang soon posted an article on his center’s Web site, 64tianwang.com, describing their demands. They wanted compensation, an investigation into the schools’ construction and for those responsible for the building’s collapse to be held accountable — if there indeed was negligence.

A week later, plainclothes officers intercepted Mr. Huang on the street outside his home and stuffed him into a car. The police have informed his wife and mother that they are holding him on suspicion of illegally possessing state secrets. …

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