China: “patriotic” education and military uniform
Zunyi (China) – In blue military uniforms, with red armbands and Maoist caps bearing a scarlet star, schoolchildren practice kung fu despite the bitter cold: lost in the Chinese mountains, their establishment run by the People’s Army provides “education patriotic”.
The little school was founded over a century ago, just before the fall of the Empire, in an isolated region of Guizhou, a steep and difficult-to-access province in the south-west of the country but the Mecca of history of the Chinese Communist Party.
However, this establishment in the mountainous district of Wenshui passed in 2008 under the thumb of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) which made it a ” primary school of the Red Army “, financed by the families of the leaders of the revolutionary era.
In addition to the regular program, intensive ” red culture ” courses were added , in which the 136 pupils of the school learned nationalist songs, studied in detail the beginnings of the Party and the history of the ” Red Army ” – name given to Chinese Communist forces before 1937.
Conditions remain spartan: like all buildings in southern China, the school premises are not equipped with central heating. And despite the freezing winds that sweep the surrounding hills in winter, the children do physical exercises outside in the yard for an hour every day.
Even if most of the students already walk half an hour every morning to get to school, on the roads made muddy by a fine and persistent rain typical of the local climate.
At lunch, they line up to fill their meal trays with rice, potatoes, beans and chicken, which they must eat in total silence.