Du Bin for The New York Times
The The New York Times ran this photograph and says that it was all about traffic safety.
"Education officials promoted the saluting edict to reduce traffic accidents and teach children courtesy. Critics, who have posted thousands of negative comments about the policy on China's electronic bulletin boards, beg to differ. "This is just pitiful," wrote one in a post last year. Only inept officials would burden children with such a requirement rather than install speed bumps, others insisted."
But is this really about speed bumps and traffic safety?
A writer on Chinasmack, a website that tracks and translates Chinese blogs wrote in an August post about how it is really about authority, not safety. In very strong language.
A while ago, I saw the rules for several areas in China's Guizhou, etc. provinces that students must salute when they encounter luxury cars on the road, which I thought were completely absurd and ridiculous and I felt bad for the children.
This bunch of corrupt officials, who have sucked the blood and flesh of the people, who use the blood, sweat, and money of the ordinary common people to purchase luxury cars in order to show off their power and prestige, actually tell students to salute their luxury cars. Why not salute trucks? Why not salute horse carriages? Why not three-wheeled vehicles/pedicabs? Because these officials never ride in these vehicles....
The author goes on in stronger language, but it is pretty clear that saluting cars has nothing to do with safety, and all about respect for authority. Chinasmack