- (Photo: Reuters/China Daily)
The Chinese public is blaming the government for the head-on crash Wednesday in the rural Gansu province that killed 18 kindergarten children on their way to school.
The orange school bus, overloaded with occupants, collided head-on with a red construction truck at 9:40 a.m., officials say. There were a total of 62 children, ages 5 to 6 years old, and two adults crammed into the nine-seat bus, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Forty-four children were hospitalized. The teacher and the driver of the bus both died in the collision.
The public is outraged by the accident, blaming the government's lack of educational funds for the overcrowding of school buses.
"This is why the education systems globally need proper funding," tweeted Tori Ipacs.
Although government spending on education has risen16 percent this year, there exists a great disparity between funding in urban areas, such as Beijing, compared to rural areas, such as Qingyang City.
The Chinese government races to allocate funds to an ever-increasing population, currently at 1.3 billion. These funds gravitate toward urban areas with the most overcrowding, neglecting rural areas which are also experiencing rapid growth.
The Gansu province, which runs along China's Yellow River, is especially rural.
The bus was heading to Little Doctor Kindergarten on the outskirts of Qingyang City when the accident occurred, according to media reports.
According to The Associated Press, both the van and the truck were driving on the wrong side of the road, attempting to pass slower vehicles, when they collided head-on.
"World-wide reminder of why we should be driving gently," tweeted DCPest.
The impact hardly damaged the truck, yet crushed the miniature van like an accordion, eliminating the seats in the front part of the bus (as shown in video below).
This tragedy proves horrifically reminiscent of an incident in late October, when passersby failed to help a toddler run over by vans in Beijing.
Communist Party chief Wang Yang of the Guangdong Province referred to the toddler's death as a "wake-up call for everybody."
Similarly, in mid-October, an overcrowded tourist bus overturned in rural south-central China, killing 10 people and injuring 33 others.
The Associated Press has provided raw video footage of the horrific crash via CCTV: