How Many Children Can You Squeeze Into A Van?

Look at this van. How many young children can fit inside? (No, this isn’t a variation of a dead baby joke.) At least 40? At least 40. Because it’s a clown van, and the gimmick is there’s always room for one more than you’d expect.

By my very unofficial count, it was closer to 50 kids than 40, but at some point, we can just say: way too damn many.

On November 16, 2011, a nine-seater van carrying 62 children — way too damn many — plus two adults collided with a truck in Gansu province. Eighteen kindergarteners, their teacher, and the driver died.

The nationwide outcy spawned new regulations about school bus safety, but just a month later, 15 primary school children were killed when their bus rolled into a river.

A year later, a similar incident — a bus driving into a pond — killed 11 children in Jiangxi province.

If you were a parent, knowing the road safety flaws in China, particularly on buses, what would you do if your child was packed along with nearly 50 other children into a van?

Just wondering. Clown cars and clown situations are all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

    5 Responses to “How Many Children Can You Squeeze Into A Van?”

    1. 阿江

      There was an episode of Phoenix TV (鳳凰衛視)’s “鏘鏘三人行”, where they discussed the crash on November 16 you mentioned. They made a good point, in that, despite the new safety regulations, if your school wants to provide its kids with a field trip, but can’t afford to buy or rent a full-blown school bus, stuffing as many kids as you can in a van, and illegally modifying your van to fit them, is only bet.

      But then of course, there is also the fact that school officials might be skimming off the top, and not putting in that money towards the schools and their kids…

    2. SeaHorse

      If that state poured more money into funding schools in impoverished provinces to actually have the budget for a school bus this could be easily avoided. But no, officials are spending money on museums with nothing in them and large shopping multiplexes with no consumer demand. When ever someone says they’re building another art gallery in *insert hick town* I’m like REALLY, like REALLY. Or when I walk through an empty shopping mall. REALLY, like REALLY. People just spend money on showing off

      • P.

        Yes, life is cheap in Mainland China and that’s just the way it is — at least for another generation or two. The next generation is more forward-thinking and I suppose money will be allocated more effectively once the corrupt old guard, those whose mindset was forged during the Cultural Revolution and the ideological chaos of Reform and Opening, start to retire and the younger Western-educated generation takes their place.

        Those kids are damn cute, though, and I wish they had a proper school bus.


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