Yingchan Tang


As Interviewed by Danika L., on March 12, 2014
"There was this strong, uncomfortable smell in the air. Sometimes, breathing was hard."
Yingchan Tang

Introductory Profile: About Yingchan Tang

My interviewee was Yingchan Tang. During the orange level (high level) smog that occurred in Beijing recently, her daughter’s principal decided to suspend classes until the smog cleared, because smog has a negative impact on human health. She, and other parents, concerned with their kids' health, supported the principal’s decision. The school’s decision was significant because it didn't obey the trial emergency measures for heavy air pollution in Beijing issued by the municipal government. Yingchan talked about how and why they decided to cancel school.

Yingchan Tang is a tall and fit, middle age Chinese women. She was born in Guilin and lived there until she moved to Beijing in 2001 when she was 29, where she currently lives. Yingchan speaks little English, so the interview was in Chinese. She was one of the few that graduated from college. Back then in China, there weren't many universities, so only the top few in the country would be able to get into a college. Even though she had a good chance of finding a nice job, she decided to be a housewife and look after her children. Her 2 daughters are in 5th and 7th grade. Her older daughter goes to the middle school affiliated with Peking University, which is a really good school (in the top 10 schools in China).

The interview was comfortable and enjoyable, a natural feeling conversation. She was speaking in a casual manner like how you would normally tell a story to a friend. The event I interviewed her about (Beijing’s hazardous smog) happened recently, so there were no long pauses. Yingchan has a generally loud and kind voice which made the interview really at ease. She tended to be very talkative, saying anything that would come to mind, which made the interview more interesting.

For nearly a week, the Chinese capital, Beijing, was blanketed by a thick veil of smog. The only school in Beijing that suspended school was the middle school affiliated with Peking University, the school of my interviewee’s daughter. Even though the municipal didn't support this decision because it went against their policy, the principal and parents felt it was necessary for the children’s health.