(LIAONING, China) — As summer starts, Chinese students from Liaoning province are leaving their college … in the dust.
It looks like these students in northern China are celebrating the end, literally, of their school as it goes up in smoke. Rather harsh, no matter how happy they are to be leaving. Seniors from China’s Dalian University of Technology City College in Liaoning province, are seen in a widely dispersed online photo dressed in graduation day gowns and joyfully tossing their caps into the air. With smiles on their faces they appear as fresh-faced and full of hope as any happy student headed out into the world should be on his or her big day.
But behind them, just steps from their classroom buildings, a massive, black cloud of smoke rises into the air. Reports are a warehouse just behind university buildings caught fire on graduation day. The sequence of events suggest that the fire started just as students prepared to head to graduation ceremonies. As students were evacuated, a group stopped to snap photos. The visual effect makes it appear as if the university itself is going up in smoke, and its students could not be happier.
In China, where the rigor and competitive nature of academic study is widely known to be among the most intense in the world, the photo caused quite a sensation. The photo, and others from the same scene, went viral and according to the Daily Mail were forwarded 3,000 times in two hours.
The student who uploaded the photos, Netizen ‘Brent-J’, also posted the following caption, “It’s too big a coincidence to see the university on fire today, the students are filled with love in seeing the school burn.”
University officials were not pleased with the suggestion that students would celebrate the school’s destruction. They released subsequent photos of students helping to put out the fire on the college website and the statement that they “show the true spirit of the college. Our students should not be celebrating destruction.”
Either way, for the group of students in the photo school is definitely out for summer.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN