Editor's Note: The following article was translated and edited from an article that appeared on the iFeng news site with supplements from a related article from Wenxuecity.com. The article concerns a recent incident in Shandong Province in which a foreign teacher threw a five-year-old Chinese girl in a swimming pool, distressing the child and her family. After a lengthy argument, the man finally agreed to apologize and pay the family 20,000 RMB as compensation.
The foreigner who threw the child is escorted away by police
On July 1st, the Qilu Evening Post reported on a New Zealand man throwing a 5-year-old girl in a swimming pool, a story that has since made significant waves on the Chinese internet. Under the terms of the agreement between the man and the girl's family, the man is to apologize and pay 20,000 RMB in compensation.
Ms. Tian, mother of Dongdong, the thrown girl, spoke to reporters on July 2nd. After the incident, Ms. Tian and the authorities watched the security camera footage, and confirmed that, after Dongdong swam close enough, the man took her and raised her high in the air before throwing her back down into the meter-deep water, causing her to almost hit the floor of the pool. After Dongdong returned to the surface, she was retrieved by a Chinese man. According to Ms. Tian, "She didn't just fly safely from the foreign man to the Chinese man's arms; that's why we're all so upset."
"Money's not the issue; the issue is that the foreign man was being completely inappropriate," Ms. Tian added.
Family seek punishment; compensation deal reached
After the incident, Dongdong's family had difficulties coming to an agreement with the man. According to Ms. Tian, the man and his family repeatedly pleaded with her to take pity on their financial situation: "They said he worked at Shandong Finance and Economics University, only makes 5,000 RMB a month, just had an operation, basically that money was tight. But we didn't budge. The offense wasn't enough to get him arrested, but we just couldn't let him off without some kind of punishment, teaching him some sort of lesson." Eventually the two sides reached an agreement in which the man would pay 20,000 RMB to the family.
According to Ms. Tian, Dongdong's grandmother was shocked and physically distressed by the incident, forcing her to lie down immediately upon returning home. Dongdong was also visibly troubled, refusing to sleep alone: "She curled up with her grandmother, talking and calling out for her mother in her sleep."
"The foreign man's wife wanted to come with her husband to our home and apologize in person, but I was afraid Dongdong and her grandmother would become too upset upon seeing him, so at the time I said no," Ms. Tian told reporters.
Identity of the foreign man revealed
Sources have identified the New Zealand man's Chinese name as Wu Side, a teacher at Shandong Finance and Economics University, whose teaching contract is set to expire in August of this year.
On the afternoon of the 2nd, the director of foreign affairs office at the university told reporters, "Wu Side is in fact employed at the university as a foreign teacher, and we know that he underwent heart surgery in February. Because of his age and his health condition, after much deliberation we'd already decided to cancel his foreign expert permit. Now, considering the incident with the girl, we've decided not to renew his contract."
The university also told reporters that, until his eventual departure, the school will continue to expect him to follow Chinese legal and ethical codes.
Wang Wei, senior attorney for Shandong's Qianshun law firm, told reporters that anyone who breaks the law, be he/she foreign or Chinese, is susceptible to incarceration, fines, and/or education. "However, seeing as the man in question inflicted no harm upon the girl, the situation does not warrant an arrest. The agreement with Wu Side paying compensation to the family is a lawful and reasonable arrangement."
Reporters talked to one of the man's students, Lin, who has taken one of his classes and found him to be very knowledgeable about China, but only an "average" teacher. Lin also said the man, known to students as "Phillips", lives in the same apartment building as students and likes to discuss politics with students in class. "He's active in a lot of administrative groups on campus, so lots of students know him. When we heard the description of the foreign man in the news, we figured it must have been him."
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Keywords: foreign teacher swimming pool Shandong foreign teacher case
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I remember reading this story 5 years ago. the girl is 10 now. I also heard that the girl told someone that her grandmother made up the story to get money. I guess this could be looked at as a lesson for us. When in China don't have fun with the Children. Unless of course you have lots of money.
Feb 10, 2017 21:58 Report Abuse
This is stupid. First, Chinese parents don't watch their naughty children, then these children do what ever they want and then foreigners are blamed. Oh, came on! And no word about why an old man did it. I bet this child did something outrageous.
Aug 06, 2015 18:30 Report Abuse
Let me start with this: No one should ever hurt a child. Rather east or west!!! I do not know hat went on in this story other than what was stated in the article. Neither does anyone else commenting. But we are all free to give our view or opinion. I do understand one thing about Chinese parents. They will look (most) for any opportunity to extort money from foreign teachers/workers and will look for ways to make themselves look important. I have a teacher friend who corrected a little emperor in his class. The child was disruptive in class but this day he broke parts from a window sill in the classroom. The broken laminate was sharp and could have harmed the child and other children. The teacher spoke to the child about his action and ask him to move from the area. The child started crying. His mother ran to the viewing window and the other parents told what really happened. The boys parent was embarrassed by what her child had done and that the teacher had, publicly, corrected him. She complained to the school and they requested that the teacher leave the school. When he would not accept their offer to end the contract and pay him for the full month, They refused to allow him to the school and ordered him from the school apartment. They then offered pay for part of the month and gave him and his wife till the evening of the next day to sign the agreement and leave the apartment. Holding his pay till he signed and left. You see, many parents in China will look for any reason to get extra money. They will even use their children. This school released the teacher to avoid paying the parent for the embarrassment. They refused to pay the remainder of the contract to save face. (The teacher demanded the contract be paid in full as was in the contract and to have the 30 day period to secure another apartment and to have time to move) And no, the local court would not hear the case.
Jun 15, 2015 13:05 Report Abuse
Not taking sides here, just want to say that it irks me how often the adjective "foreign" is used in the article. The implication seems to be that the man's nationality rather than what he did that was the main factor in determining the heinousness of the act. I understand that a lot of Chinese don't have much experience being around foreigners but come on, we're all human, aren't we?
Feb 22, 2015 09:52 Report Abuse
My daughter's comment: "A 5 year old child harassing an adult?!?! These commentaries are just unbelievable. Obviously I don't know the case and might be that there are some precedents of people trying to make money out of this (like everywhere else in the world). But is that a reason to vomit all these racist statements just because you're anonymous? Shame on them!!" I am an expat in China and I would love to see all those expats who think that they are superior or who simply understood NOTHING about this country to go home where they belong. In the name of the so-called "Western covilized world" I extend my apologies to our Chinese hosts.
Jun 26, 2014 15:59 Report Abuse
Really feel sorry for this teacher. This women just saw an opportunity to make money. I left China six months ago and glad I did. Of course, I met some genuine and great people, but as a Whole And the salary for a teacher are not good anymore. It's just not Worth it anymore, unless you are in your 20's and looking for an "experience abroad". The chinese are destroying their culture and country. It's a real shame, as it is, or rather was beautiful. For a westerner, particularly from Europe, it's too full on..Unless you live in the country side
Aug 20, 2013 20:22 Report Abuse
You've got to be kidding me! She's five years old! Thrown into a metre deep pool! I used to love it when my Dad did that to me! Didn't know a kid who didn't! Another case of over protective, Molly coddling parents, who say the money isn't important! Yeah right! Who's gonna sniff at 20k. Easy money. Highlighting a major problem in Chinese parenting.
Jul 02, 2013 07:27 Report Abuse
This sounds half economic opportunism on the part of little DongDong's parents, and half of that obnoxious hysteria that Chinese get whenever a kid get so much as a bump or a scratch. It's why I can't work with children in this country--unless they are unnaturally shielded from EVERYTHING, you had better believe the grand/parents will be in some real distress. Bloody nose in class? You'd think the kid needed a transfusion. Kid falls down playing duck-duck-go and bruises his arm? He could have been maimed for life! Teacher yells at a kid for slugging her? Psychological blow to his confidence that could potentially lead to his suicide (I'm not joking. That happened to a co-worker). But hysteria does not translate into real world damages.
Jun 18, 2013 12:34 Report Abuse
I have been living in China for over four years now. In the summer me and my friends are always looking for pools to chill out in. I have seen a few Chinese swimming teachers doing what this teacher has been accused of doing. There was one child, he was crying, the teacher kept pulling him out of the pool and throwing him back in, the kid would swim back and the teacher would do it again. We all thought it was really bad but thought it was the way you taught swimming in China.
My friend from England is a swimming teacher and he would never do this. He teaches lots of children in a friendly and comfortable environment.
Jul 27, 2012 06:00 Report Abuse
please don't put this kind of article !!! This is just a mistake. Every people here knows that the Chinese society is turning into money-maniac. My Chinese friends always remind of these kind of people .. its just an insult on foreigners face for nothing... Those people need to learn some politeness and humanity. If i accidentally push some one to the ground i will give him/her hand and apologize. If someone accidentally or intentionally bumps into someone.. first thing in his mind is 'get some money out of it'.... This kind of news are all over .. pls do not try to spread it in English language.
Jul 18, 2012 03:49 Report Abuse