China officials 'investigate classroom brawl' in Anhui province

Screengrab of video showing Anhui high school students and teacher in a classroom brawl, taken on 21 April 2016 Image copyright Weibo
Image caption The teacher was seen grabbing the student's neck

Chinese authorities are investigating a classroom brawl between high school students and their teacher in Anhui province, local media report.

A video purportedly showing the fight spread online on Wednesday, shocking netizens who condemned the incident.

The clip shows a teacher grabbing a student's neck, and a group of students beating and kicking the teacher.

Classroom violence is rare in China, which has traditionally emphasised respect for teachers.

The incident was first reported by local newspaper Shichang Xingbao on Thursday and quickly picked up by national news outlets and state media.

Local education authorities could not be reached and the paper declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.

The paper and online portal Anhui News quoted Mengcheng education officials as saying they were investigating the incident.

Anhui News said the principal of the school had been suspended, while the students and teacher are being questioned.

Image copyright Weibo
Image caption The incident reportedly took place during a night class last Friday

The fight is said to have taken place in a high school in Mengcheng county last Friday during an English night class.

The teacher was reportedly collecting test scripts from students, but one student refused to hand in his paper.

The video shows the two of them arguing while tugging at a bunch of papers, before the teacher reaches his hand out to the student's chest to push him away, then grabs his neck.

The student appears to retaliate by hitting the teacher, and is quickly joined by a group of other students who beat and kick the man in a corner of the classroom. One is seen throwing a large object at the teacher.

Image copyright Weibo
Image caption A group of students then cornered the teacher and kicked and slapped him

The teacher is also seen fighting back and slapping the students several times.

Reports quoted school authorities as saying he did not sustain any injuries.

Image copyright Weibo
Image caption A large object was thrown at the teacher
Image copyright Weibo
Image caption The teacher fought back and slapped some of the students

'Respect the teacher'

The clip has since been shared widely online, with many on microblogging network Sina Weibo expressing shock and disgust at the incident.

Most appeared to side with the teacher and condemned the students for their behaviour which they viewed as disrespectful.

"The clip shows nobody trying to break up the fight, all you hear are shouts and even laughter. I don't know if times have changed, but when I was in high school students were very orderly and obedient," said one user, who also likened a teacher to "a father for the rest of your life".

"Respecting the teacher is the most basic starting point, if you can't even respect your teacher then you can't respect anything," said another.

Image copyright Weibo
Image caption The video ends with the teacher looking dishevelled and warning the students

Some even argued that the teacher should have used more force in disciplining the students.

"With this sort of class, once you start you should use violence to make the students scared, let the students know that if they rebel against the teacher the consequences would be even more severe. If the teacher cannot do it then maybe the security department can," said a Weibo commenter.

But a few also found fault with the teacher, saying it was not right for him to have grabbed the student's neck.

"The students are really not obedient, and the teacher is not acting like a teacher," one commentator said.

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