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Were our children poisoned?


On March 9, 53 children from a kindergarten in Jilin Province were hospitalized after they showed symptoms of illness, including fever, weakness, and vomiting. One day later, municipal authorities conducted a preliminary investigation and concluded that the sickness was caused by food poisoning from ingesting coliform bacteria. On March 15, all the children were discharged from the hospital, but one boy was taken by his parents to the First Hospital of Jilin University (FHJU) for further examination: He tested positive for rat poison. As a result, the Jilin City government organized another group test for all the children at the kindergarten, and nine more tested positive for rat poison. As the news began to circulate on the internet, the National Health and Family Planning Commission sent a group of three experts to investigate. According to Sixth Tone, they overturned the results of the hospital’s tests.

Parents, however, were suspicious of the sudden twist in the case. In a 10-second video (in Chinese) circulated online, a group of furious parents gather, complaining about the overhauled result. The person who shot the footage remarks, “Look how intense the crowd is…I can’t believe that they told us the previous result was wrong!” On Chinese social media, internet users have been divided over the case. On this Weibo posting (in Chinese), one commenter says, “We should trust experts sent by the central government. They speak with authority.” Others question, “What are the chances that FHJU, the best hospital in Jilin Province, gave incorrect results on all 10 cases?”


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.