Fan Meizhong paid once more for his argument that there was nothing wrong with his flight from a classroom in the Sichuan quake, as a Beijing school which had decided to hire him was forced to delay hiring him.
Keyfind Education School, a private training institution, announced Sunday it had decided to indefinitely postpone hiring Fan as a researcher and lecturer. The school had signed a two-year contract with Fan.
"The situation is indeed beyond our expectation," school spokesman Zhang Wenbin told Xinhua Monday. "We are forced to do this by the media."
Fan's resurfacing became a new subject of debate as many people held that he was no longer suitable to continue work in the educational sector and that the school had just used the teacher for publicity.
A former Chinese language teacher at a private high school in quake-hit Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province, he was nicknamed "running Fan" by netizens after he left his students behind and escaped the classroom as the 8.0-magnitude quake struck.
None of Fan's students were hurt during the quake. But about ten days after the May 12 quake, Fan became a target as he explained in his online post that "only for the sake of his daughter can he consider sacrificing himself at the life and death moment."
Some appreciated his courage in speaking the truth while others accused him of being selfish and breaking the moral ethics of a teacher. He was later fired by the private high school.
"Fan, as a person, also needs to live," Zhang said. "We hope the media will be tolerant about Fan and give him some living space.
"Whether he was wrong or right in his quake behavior, we only want to make use of his talent," Zhang added.
However, an online survey on Monday on major web portal Sohu.com showed about 1,800 people among the 4,300 netizens supported Fan in continuing his educational career, while 2,400 others opposed.
"He can take to other jobs, but he is indeed no longer qualified to be a teacher," read a netizen's message.
In contrast, another netizen supported Fan: "A mature society should be a magnanimous one. An opportunity should be given to him as a mistake does not mean a life mistake."
Fan is now still in his Sichuan home. He still insisted Sunday he had done nothing wrong.
"The school's hiring of Fan should not be a target for criticism and Fan also has the right to work," said Zhao Shilin, a professor at Minzu University of China in Beijing.
"But man should have a base line of ethics," said Zhao. "Self-reflection is important for Fan to win the public's tolerance for him." (Xinhua)Updated: 2008-12-29 21:17