Since the Sichuan earthquake last month destroyed the remote Muyu Secondary School, parents of children who died have been returning every day to the site where the classrooms once stood. Each day their pilgrimage represents the search for answers from the government, but every day they are disappointed. Unlike other schools that collapsed during the quake, Muyu, tucked away in the mountains of Qingchuan county , has received little attention in the mainland press, with parents blaming the oversight on tight media controls. And unlike other schools, impoverished Muyu's three-storey student dormitory, where the children were having their afternoon sleep, was allegedly dangerous not because of shoddy construction, but because it was converted from a 30-year-old factory building that was not designed to withstand a quake. Parents are further infuriated that the dormitory, which housed about 500 students, had only two doors - one of which was locked at the time of the quake. The parents also question the official quake death toll of 287 students, claiming that at least 300 children died, with some parents still not having found their children. And they're demanding an explanation as to why their children, whom they buried on a hillside overlooking the school ground, were exhumed and reburied in mass graves without their consent. At least 10 times since the quake the parents have protested in front of the Qingchuan county government's offices, hoping to speak to county party secretary Li Haosheng . Yet apart from one occasion early this month, when his vehicle was blocked by demonstrators in Qima village, the parents have not seen him. On June 9 the parents finally received a letter from the Qingchuan Earthquake Command Centre, saying that investigations into the claims that the door was locked and the building dangerous had been completed. Both claims were denied, with no explanations given. 'According to investigations, the student dormitory at Muyu Secondary School was not a dangerous building and the dormitory door was immediately opened at the time of the earthquake and did not impede students from escaping during the quake,' the letter said. It went on to say that the government had since set out policies benefiting the parents and the people of China were extending their helping hands. 'Our parent comrades should keep a grateful heart and look to the future, and throw yourselves into the reconstruction of your homes. We will continue to care for and support you.' Angered by the letter, the parents are now determined to protest to higher authorities, even if it means going to Beijing. They are convinced that the dormitory was at least plagued by leaking ceilings and that more students could have escaped if the main door had not been locked. The teacher who held the key to the main door could not be contacted, but sources said the teacher had ordered a student called Hou Bin to open the door immediately after the quake started, since he himself was not dressed. Hou, who also could not be contacted, earlier told a local reporter it took him about 10 seconds to arrive at the doorway and there were already 40 or 50 people waiting at the door. 'When I arrived at the hall leading to the door, the door was already open but the room was packed with people trying to get out,' said Tang Hai, another student. 'Then the building collapsed before I managed to run out.' The 15-year-old lost a leg. At 4pm that day, when Tang Shufa rushed to the school in search of his son, all he saw was frantic parents trying to dig their children out from under the collapsed bricks and concrete slabs. One after another, he dug out three children. In the rubble he said he noticed a document with an official seal and he pocketed it without thinking. Mr Tang never found his 14-year-old son, Tang Yu, but he hopes the document he found - a report by the school dated February 24, 2006, which says: 'Our school now has five dangerous buildings and four rows of dangerous bungalows' - will bring his son justice. It said all of the buildings were constructed in the late 1960s and early 1970s from facilities that were once part of an electronics factory. The report said all the buildings should be classified as C-grade dangerous buildings, but the school could only afford certification of one building, the old canteen, as C-grade. Even the C-grading was an understatement, since the school couldn't afford a D-grade certification, which would have required immediate demolition, the report said. In general, the buildings listed had extensive cracks, slanted walls, expanding holes and sunken foundations. 'Muyu Secondary School, which is a million yuan in debt, really cannot afford these reconstruction costs,' the report said, asking for high-level help from the education department. Qingchuan county's education department chief, Chen Yun, said the construction department had sent a team of investigators to the school in March last year. He said they found that only the old canteen was a dangerous building. Early this month quake investigators again returned to the school with former headmaster Wang Xingquan, who left the school several months before the quake, and determined that the buildings listed in the 2006 report did not include the student dormitory. 'All these inspections have records and it is very clear that the school dormitory was not a dangerous building,' said Mr Chen, the only official who stayed at Muyu for a week and who was accessible to the parents. Mr Wang confirmed that the school dormitory was not considered a dangerous building when he drafted the 2006 report, but said he forgot whether construction department investigators had visited the school before or after it had been written. 'Apart from the canteen, the classification of the buildings as dangerous was mainly based on our experience. The school dormitory never appeared dangerous. It had no cracks, and it was not slanting,' the former headmaster said. The five buildings at the school were mostly teachers' quarters, and still in use until the quake, despite their dilapidated state. 'Where could we go if we didn't stay in the quarters? I was living there too,' he said. 'But for the quake, the school dormitory was a perfectly usable building.' Yet in the quake, the dormitory, constructed from bricks and prefabricated concrete slabs with no steel-reinforced pillars, simply collapsed. Mr Wang had been sending reports to various education officials about the state of the school buildings since 2001, but no repair budget was ever disbursed to the school. He said he could not recall which officials he had reported to. Mr Chen said education funding had always been tight in his rural county, but had been increasing in recent years. 'I cannot say the funding is sufficient. But it's growing year by year,' he said. Parents, however, accuse officials of corruption. They said authorities had promised that Qima village would receive a new school in 1996, but that it was never built. 'Schools that should have been built have not been built. Schools that should have been repaired have not been repaired. Where did all the money go,' asked one parent. Mr Chen said the authorities were doing their best to comfort parents. The government has provided subsidies and arranged for compensation payouts of more than 10,000 yuan per parent for those who lost children in the disaster, he said. Teachers in Guangyuan have raised 700,000 yuan for parents and psychologists have been provided to counsel them. Parents said officials and teachers had tried to persuade them not to continue their petition, but all the parents said they were determined not to give up their fight for what they say is simply justice. 'The aim of our campaign is not money. We want justice. We want an answer,' Mr Tang said. 'The school building was, after all, reduced to rubble. I graduated from Muyu Secondary School in 1989 and even then we noticed the deterioration of the brick walls.' Apart from wanting an explanation for his son's death, Mr Tang said he was also trying to keep his marriage together. Since the loss of their only child, he and his devastated 39-year-old wife were under constant stress. 'We were told by the town cadres that since the Olympics were coming we should not do things which might affect the 'big picture',' he said. Mr Chen denied claims by the parents there were more missing students, saying that of 857 students at Muyu Secondary School 287 had died and 97 were rescued from the site. All other students had been accounted for. 'It was very chaotic at the time, when the bodies of the children were being lifted from the rubble. Some had lost their limbs and some of their faces were unrecognisable. I know a parent who claimed three bodies as her children and buried them. But that parent later found out her child was in a hospital in Guangyuan,' Mr Chen said. 'That's why some parents still can't find their children.'