By Dong Chen
Still standing; the school that survived the earthquake
Incredibly, Liu Han Hope Primary School in the village of Dengjiahai, just seven and a half kilometers from earthquake epicenter Beichuan, is still standing. And by some miracle, all 483 students and staff of the school are safe and well.
Chinese bloggers have begun to ask why. They have dubbed Liu Han Primary the toughest school ever. Many have suggested that the school's builders should be given recognition and adopted as a role model.
"Free Old Bird", a blogger on Tianya.com, first drew attention to the school on May 17, noting that while other children were being buried alive in their classrooms, students and staff of Liu Han Hope Primary were being safely evacuated.
On May 18, Huanqiu News carried the headline "Hero Teacher Rescues 78 Kids". According to the report, on May 12, 2:28 PM, the 400 plus students of Liu Han Hope Primary were taking an 8 minute break when the whole world started to shake. They climbed to higher ground and saw that the entire village had collapsed except for the 3 story school building standing intact amid the ruins. Some students were collected by their parents, but 78 remained unclaimed.
The next day, fleeing persistent aftershocks, 9 teachers and 78 students, the youngest of whom was just 4 years old, braved the rain and marched across mountains for nearly 7 hours to a quake relief center in Renjiaping.
The school building before earthquake
Evacuated pupils watching TV at their hotel.
(China.org.cn May 19, 2008)