“Under the guise of conflict between recruits and veteran firefighters, people from different communities often settle scores in the barracks”
In Chinese barracks, clans are often formed according to place of birth. If, for example, a person from one area offends someone from another community, the latter group may organise reprisal attacks. Under the guise of conflict between recruits and veteran firefighters, people from different communities often settle scores in the barracks.Violence has always existed in army or military police barracks; it was even worse a few years ago, however, the administration is more strict today. However, severe sanctions are rare, and the hierarchies usually end up blaming each other. The culprits are almost never expelled.
“It’s unacceptable for the authorities to deny their responsibility in this”
There is no tradition of hazing in Chinese universities, in contrast to what sometimes happens in Western countries. However, it’s a different thing altogether in the barracks; this is not the first time we've heard of mistreatment towards new recruits. It has happened before in Wuhai and in the rest of the country. But it’s the first time that we can see this abuse so clearly.There was a similar case in May 2013, although it wasn’t widely known. A web user, who also lived in Wuhai, was looking for advice on forums because his 18-year old son was beaten by a brigade of the city’s firefighters [Editor’s note: the web user didn’t specify which brigade]. His son had to have his spleen removed, and he suffered a collapsed lung. Today, he is severely handicapped.“I don’t think this video will change much”His parents took legal action but the police defended themselves by saying it was an isolated incident, so they can’t be held responsible. According to my lawyer friends who have handled similar cases, families are often offered rather generous compensation to settle, and the public never hears about it. It’s unacceptable for the authorities to deny their responsibility in this and do nothing to prevent further incidents.The heart of the problem is that anything to do with the armed forces is considered untouchable in China. Citizens are very poorly informed because after an incident, only the official version of events is relayed. In the end, there is very little follow up with the victims of these hazing rituals. This video could have been a good way to help change things, but since it has been censored I’m quite pessimistic about its real impact.