Police in Jintang County (northwest of Chengdu proper) staged a practice drill in preparation for National Day security last Friday. The drill involved a fake explosive that was planted at the local middle school. And to be sure the drill was as authentic as possible, neither the students of the school nor their families were notified that it was just a drill.
On Friday morning, a suspicious red bag was found on a second-floor bathroom of the Jintang County Middle School.
At 10:30 a.m., the area was cordoned off, and six fire engines, an ambulance, and 100 police had arrived at the scene. At 10:47, county PSB head Gang Xiao commanded over the school's loudspeakers, "All students on the first floor, evacuate immediately to the playground," and so on until, by 10:55, all of the school's nearly 6,400 students and teachers had been evacuated.
Those ironic caption writers at Sichuan News captioned this photo of terrified students understandably running for their lives "Students evacuate from the building in an orderly manner."
Curious onlookers flocked to see what was going on, but they were immediately turned away by police patrolling the area.
At 10:59, a group of seven explosives experts examined the bag and pronounced, "This thing will not explode."
From Sichuan Online:
Of course it won't explode, because this was in the middle of a Chengdu City National Day security operation, in fact it was the largest of such practice drills. However, for this practice drill, not everyone was notified beforehand of the time and place. It was meant to be an authentic drill, so no wonder the families gathered outside the school gates believed it to be real.
"My baby is still inside, and I don't know what's going on, please let me in!" pleaded one parent who attempted several times to cross the police lines.
Finally, after the drill was completed, the police announced to the crowd that it was only a drill, which evidently prompted a big public sigh of relief. Almost like an April Fool's Day prank half a year early. Wasn't there some fable about a boy and a wolf?
Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering, the Chengdu Police have officially announced that no large-scale assemblies will be tolerated in the days leading up to the National Day. So don't even think about it.
Images: Sichuan News