A tiny cliffside village in Sichuan caused an uproar last week after netizens everywhere found out the dangerous route that children in the village were forced to take to get to school. Chinese journalists made the trek recently and we got to say that it’s amazing these kids don’t fake being sick more often.
Instead, the 15 children that live at Atule’er Village in southernmost Sichuan climb up and down a set of 17 ladders placed against an 800-meter-tall cliff in order to get to class on time.
Since initial reports hit the Chinese internet last week, more details about the kids’ journey has come to light. It turns out that the children go to school for 10 days before getting 5 days off to go back home. While eight people have died in the past making the climb, there hasn’t been an accident since 2009. The villagers are proud that they keep their kids safe by having a male adult accompany each of them during the dangerous journey with a rope tied around their waists.
While the kids were reported to be able to make the climb in just 90 minutes, it took reporters at thecover.cn three and a half hours to make it up to the village. Watch the video below:
And another one here:
One more for good measure:
In the last video, they talk about the difficulties faced by the local government in solving this problem. There used to be a cable way down the cliff; however, the electricity cost was too high for the villagers to afford. Villagers would prefer a road, but that could cost 40 million yuan, or around one-third of the prefecture’s annual revenue. Meanwhile, apart from Atule’er, the government has more than 33 other villages just like it to think about.
After the villager’s story went viral, the local government began to feel the pressure, paying a visit to the village and announcing that they will build a set of steel stairs leading up to the village. We’ll have to wait and see how that goes.
Meanwhile, in Hunan, the longest AND tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world has finally been completed. This calls for a celebration!
[Video via thecover.cn / Sina]