Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Chinese children too fragile for real life [The Age]

This report does hit the nail on the head about China’s new Little Emperors, a contemporary social hybrid of China’s newly rich and traditional Chinese familial determinism.

However, the title reads of an unfair blanket value judgement perhaps? One that does not consider China’s urban-rural divide. I doubt spoilt all Chinese children are wrapped in cotton wool though these little tyrants reported here, I’ve seen first hand.

However if we consider children born in rural China are three to six times more likely to die before they turn 5 than those in the cities, then maybe the article has a case.

Referencing just Shanghai, one city out of the many, is insufficient to represent all Chinese children I’m sure.

Child mortality highlights China’s urban-rural divide (Reuters, March 25, 2010)

– – –

Chinese children too fragile for real life
Malcolm Moore, Shanghai, for The Telegraph
Source – The Age, published January 10, 2012

A sculpture promoting China's one-child policy in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

CHINA’S Little Emperors, a generation of chubby, spoiled children, have given way to a new era of Precious Snowflakes, youngsters so coddled they cannot tie their own shoelaces.

”They are ‘Precious Snowflakes’, wrapped in cotton wool from day one,” said Paul French, the founder of Access Asia, a China-based research company.

”Nothing is ever quite right for them. It is always either too hot or too cold and they are all hypochondriacs. They get immediately stressed out if they ever have to lift a finger.”

Middle-class Chinese parents are spending ever-larger sums to insulate their children from harm.

”The first generation, the Little Emperors, were quite tough: fat little thugs always stuffing themselves full of McDonald’s,” said Mr French. ”The new generation is very concerned with things like air quality.

”They only drink Evian and are scared of food unless it is imported. Their parents tread quietly around them so they can do ‘natural waking’, where they do not use alarm clocks but are in tune with their biorhythms.”

One mother in Shanghai, who asked not to be named, complained that her four-year-old daughter refused to undertake the simplest task. ”Yao Yao rarely wears shoes with laces because she cannot tie them. And she will not dress herself … If I insist, she buries herself in her duvet and refuses to get out of bed.

”I have never really had the heart to force her, and her grandparents, who usually look after her, cannot resist her. Her dinner time is cartoon time, so she watches television while her grandparents sit and spoon-feed her. When we try to bring her to the table, she just makes a big fuss.

”She likes new clothes, so we have to buy her a new wardrobe every three months. Once my cousin’s daughter came and played with her doll so she threw it out of the 17th-floor window, saying it was dirty.”

Gu Jianmei, 47, has taught at the Tianjia’an Number Three kindergarten in Huainan, Anhui province, for three decades.

She said the current children had been banned from jumping, dancing or crawling, because of fears that they might hurt themselves.

”We have padded all the stairs, banisters, corners and the children do not do physical exercise.

”They are more aggressive and also more weak. They cannot control themselves and … they give up when given tasks to do.”



Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Mapping Feelings, People, Population, Social, Strategy, The Age, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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