About a month ago, 5 boy aged 9 to 13 were found dead after burning charcoal for warmth in a road-side dumpster in the city of Bijie, Guizhou province. One month later, dumpsters in Bijie once again attracted national attention. This time, not because of what’s found inside the dumpsters, but what’s on them.
Today, near where the boys were found dead, journalists found some new red prints on road-side dumpsters:
“Humans and animals are strictly prohibited to enter. Violators are at their own risk.”
Netizens’ anger over such prints are beyond words. Currently, the image of the newly- printed dumpster ranked No. 1 on Sina Weibo’s top trending list within a matter of hours. Local town chief already apologized. But according to Bijie government, it was Deng Hongmei, local official in charge of city sanitation, who approved these new prints without careful examination. She was already under investigation. But like many netizens asked: “Is this how Bijie resolves the tragedy of left-behind kids?”
The 5 boys found dead in a Bijie dumpster a month ago were all left-behind kids whose parents were off to China’s big cities for better income. These boys were left in their rural hometown without proper parenting and schooling. Netizen 社会五味 commented: “Animals won’t understand these words. And for local people, if the government has done its job, who would want to stay in a dumpster to keep warm?”
Chinese netizens are especially sensitive to these words because there was a urban legend that after the Opium War when China was colonized by “Western imperialist countries”, parks in many foreign concessions in Shanghai had signs that read “Chinese and dogs are not admitted.” Though there has been no hard evidence found to prove the existence of such signs, many Chinese believe in their existence and often use them as an example of the insult Western countries imposed on China. Bijie’s dumpster prints definitely remind many of the evil Western imperialism. So it’s not difficult to understand why many netizens were questioning what’s wrong with this country and the government that rules it. Netizen 逆光的糖纸Yohanna concluded: “What’s cold is not winter, but the hearts of these officials.”