China’s Neglected Problem: Student Kicked Out for Being Autistic


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A young boy from Henan was sent away from school for being autistic, leading to furious reactions from Chinese netizens. China’s education system is failing our children with special needs, they say.

In Puyang (濮阳, Henan Province) an 8-year-old boy named Xiaoxuan (an assumed name) was kicked out of school after over 40 parents opposed to him to studying in the same classroom with other students because of his ‘hyperactive’ and ‘weird’ behavior, Henan Sina reports.

According to Xiaoxuan’s parents, their son suffers from autism and hyperkinetic disorder linked to birth complications.

Xiaoxuan was unable to start school last September, at the age of 7. After his parents took him to Beijing for a year-long rehabilitation training, the doctors reassured them that Xiaoxuan would be able to attend a mainstream school. They took him to a regular primary school in Puyang this September, hoping their son could attend school like every other child. But he was nevertheless forced to go home in late October.

 

“Everyone should have equals right to learn. What those 40 parents did negatively affects their own children too.”

 

Xiaoxuan’s story has sparked heated discussions on Sina Weibo. The topic “hyperactive boy required to leave school” (#男孩爱动被要求离校#) has been viewed about 60 million times, attracting over 40,000 comments since November 11. Many netizens are angry about what happened to Xiaoxuan and call for equal rights in education.

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User Timfrk speaks out: “Don’t you have kids yourself? Can’t you put yourself in someone else’s shoes? Everyone should have equals right to learn. What those 40 parents did negatively affects their own children too.”

“The primary education period is a crucial time for kids to build perspective on the world, and it determines their outlook on life and values,” user Minoz explains: “Having a ‘special’ kid in the class is a wonderful opportunity for other kids to learn how to be understanding and tolerant. They now missed out because of their selfish parents.”

 

“Perhaps this boy is super smart, but his talent is burned out by China’s school system. This demonstrates how the education in China is failing.”

 

According to article 4 of China’s Compulsory Education Law (义务教育法), school-aged children and adolescents have equal rights to receive education. This means that children entering the education system are protected by the law, making it illegal to deprive them of the right to schooling.

In addition, according to the provincial law in Henan Province, Xiaoxuan’s school must take him in as a student, as there is no special school for him in the local area.

User Ahuang indicates: “These parents deprived Xiaoxuan of his right to education, which is against the law. What’s more, their behavior might make him diffident, withdrawn, and pessimistic. Who is responsible for that? Perhaps this boy is super smart, but his talent is burned out by China’s school system. This demonstrates how China’s education is failing.”

An important cause for the rejection of children with special needs is the Chinese approach of an exam-oriented educational system. The desire for high scores is deeply rooted in Chinese culture. Parents are concerned that the academic performances of their ‘normal’ children will be affected by the presence of ‘special’ children.

 

“A good learning environment is crucial to us. If there is a kid who talks a lot and interferes with others during class, not only the students but also the teacher will be affected.”

 

Students from Henan Province particularly suffer from the great pressure of the China’s college entrance exam system (gaokao). As higher educational resources (number and quality of universities) are distributed unevenly across China, it is said that students are not treated fairly during the admission process, which is called “regional discrimination“. A university usually sets a fixed admission quota for each province, with a higher number of students coming from its home province. But because Henan province has fewer universities per capita than for example Beijing, an applicant in Henan needs a significantly higher score than his Beijing counterpart to attend the same university. Therefore, fierce competition starts from grade one. Parents have no choice but to make sure their kids have the best learning environment.

Weibo user “Original” shares: “Parents and children from China, especially from Henan Province, are dealing with the huge pressure of schoolwork and college entrance exams. A good learning environment is crucial to us. If there is a kid who talks a lot and interferes with others during class, not only the students, but also the teacher will be affected. I sympathize with Xiaoxuan, but others should not shoulder responsibility for this problem.”

Another user named Lao Li writes: “We have to consider the enormous pressure that the students of Henan Province are facing. Schools are also extremely stressed about the high enrollment rate. The children are victims of the education system, generation after generation.”

 

“We should follow the Japanese example where schools put kids with special needs together in a class, and assign extra teachers to teach them and provide extra care.”

 

Though some users try to argue in favor of the 40 parents and the school principal, the majority of Weibo users condemn their decision and question the principal’s ability to cope with Xiaoxuan’s issue. “The school principal seems useless. He should have calmed the parents down, and should have resolved the problem with the right solutions instead of asking Xiaoxuan to leave school,” says user Lanear.

Weibo users also suggest their own solutions to the issue. For instance, user “Rabit9104” purposes: “We should follow the Japanese example where schools put kids with special needs together in a class, and assign extra teachers to teach them and provide extra care. This then also gives them the chance to engage with other students in a regular school. This is called inclusive education.”

Xiaoxuan is not alone. A similar case has happened before. In 2012, a boy with autism was refused by four regular schools in Shenzhen after principals received complaint letters from other parents. The number of special schools in China is limited, and mainstream schools don’t always have the facilities and funds for special education. Special needs children face considerably more difficulties in accessing education than their fellow students.

Zhang Xiujuan, an expert on special education at Shenzhen University, pointed out in 2012 that all teachers from regular schools should receive training on special education. She also suggests that teachers should be given a monthly compensation if they have special students in the class, since they will need to put in extra efforts. Local education departments should also increase the penalties and punishment for schools that refuse to enroll special needs students.

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This article was published on What’s on Weibo.

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Weibo Netizens Appeals to Cancel Movie Censorship in China


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A draft law to promote China’s movie industry was submitted to the country’s top legislature for the first-round review on October 30th. It aims to regulate the fast-growing market, support domestic filmmakers and boost international cooperation. The administrative approval for programs set to shoot will be simplified, says Cai Fuchao (蔡赴朝), director-general of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television ( SAPPRFT广电总局).

However, the news of the draft law is not well accepted by the netizens on Sina Weibo. A lot of users point out that the strict select and control is the solution to cope with the chaos of film market in China.

User “LK_luck” is surprised by the new law:

“What’s the point of relaxing approval process? The current film market in China is a mess already. What we need is quality rather than quantity. The SAPPRFT should clarify the criterion to promote the healthy development of Chinese movie industry.”

More importantly, many users are disappointed that the draft law does not contain movie rating, which is more crucial than simplifying the approval process. User “superxixi” says:

“It doesn’t really matter if the approval process will be simplified or not. The key is to cancel censorship and set up film rating so that audiences from difference ages can fully enjoy the movies.”

Another user “Sky E” adds:

“It seems like rating closes a window for certain group of people to watch the movies, but in fact it opens a door to a broader population. This kind of openness is a taboo to ideologically narrow-minded stubborn defenders. As long as xxx (the Communist Party) is in charge, film rating will never realize in China. It is the woe of Chinese movies, artists and audiences.”

Film rating has not been implemented in Mainland China though it has been advised many times by different groups and individuals. The purpose of movie censorship in China is to have all the audiences enjoy the same movie by cutting some scenes.

The proposal of film rating was firstly initiated in 1998 when countless Chinese parents complained about the scene of blood flowing like scream in the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. Then the topic has been discussed for almost 20 years without any progress.

The movie industry in China has grown remarkably from film-making to movie market in the past 20 years. Audiences now have access to many types of movies. However, whether they are domestic or imported movies, most of them are censored. Certain type of movies can hardly be seen in the movie theater, for instance, horror films. Audiences desire to see more types of movies with no censorship, and that’s one of the reasons why piracy is rampant in China.

“Film rating is like a dream that will never come true in China. The original purpose of rating is to give parents the information they need to decide whether a film is appropriate for their family. However, the Chinese government doesn’t want anyone has the access to violence, bloodiness and pornography. Once the film rating is established, the Party cannot censor or ban the movies in the name of protecting the youth,” shares user “Sylvia” on Sina Weibo.

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Image Source: http://21stcenturywire.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/1-British-Censorship-China-Huawei.jpg

New Law Combats China’s ‘Yinao’ Phenomenon


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China has launched a new law to cope with the increasing social problem of patient-doctor violence, also called the ‘Yinao’ Phenomenon. The growing violence of patients against medical staff has made being a doctor a dangerous job in China. The new law makes it possible to sentence hospital troublemakers to up to seven years in prison.

The yinao (医闹, ‘medical disturbance’) phenomenon has become a growing problem in China’s medical sector over the past several years. Yinao is the organized disturbance and violence in hospitals against medical workers, mostly meant to get compensation for medical malpractices. It is often done by criminal groups that are hired by patients or their family when they are dissatisfied with the provided medical care.

The disturbance includes protests and violent attacks on staff. Some even involve the murder on health professionals.

Chinese media have covered roughly thirty medical related disputes from October 2013 to June 2015. These were only the terribly violent disputes (including fatal stabbings) that had a large societal impact; the thousands of small disputes happening in hospitals across China every day were not taken in account.

“The Ministry of Public Security has advised hospitals with 2000 beds to have at least 100 security guards.”

In October of 2013, the Ministry of Public Security has advised hospitals with over 2000 beds to have at least 100 security guards. The growing numbers of security staff, however, have not helped to combat hospital violence.

In November 2013, hundreds of medical workers protested at the No. 1 People’s Hospital in Wenling, after a dissatisfied patient overpowered security guards and stabbed three doctors, leading to the death of one of them.

The new law, that will be implemented on November 11th of this year, is to punish those who threaten and assault medical staff, damage hospital facilities or equipment, or in any way hinder the hospital staff and doctors from doing their work.

“Medical workers are constantly bullied, humiliated or physically hurt by ignorant people.”

On Sina Weibo, the topic “medical disturbance crimination” (#医闹入罪#) was posted immediately after the news was released. Over a million users participated in a discussion about the new law.

Among all the users commenting, there were are also many medical professionals and students. “Us as poor medical students can finally relax a little bit. Medical violence should have been incriminated years ago!” says user Sunshine Without Tears: “There have been so many hospital disputes, and medical workers are constantly bullied, humiliated or physically hurt by ignorant people. We need a law to combat hospital disputes so that the relationship between doctors and patients will improve.”

Doctor CSY summarizes the major factors contributing to the increase of violence in China’s health care: a rising consciousness of patient rights, deepening misunderstandings between patients and doctors, and provocative media reporting. He then adds: “I’ve witnessed a lot of disputes in the hospital over the past few years. All doctors want their patients to get better and healthy. We work so hard with not much income, and yet have to worry about our own safety. If any medical worker neglects his duty, he should be punished by the law instead of being hit by the patient’s family.”

“Patients sometimes spend their entire life savings when suffering from serious illnesses. When treatment fails, despairing patients and their families are quick to blame doctors.”

The market-oriented reforms of the Chinese health sector is also a major cause of the yinao phenomenon. With China’s economic liberalization, the state is no longer responsible for providing health care. Because public hospitals have started chasing profits to survive, people have to take more responsibility for their own care.

Patients sometimes spend their entire life savings when suffering from serious illnesses. When treatment fails, despairing patients and their families are quick to blame doctors and the hospital.

Most patients and their families are unwilling to solve medical problems through legal channels; not only is the process time-consuming, it also might end with no financial compensation. They believe a quicker way to get some money back is to cause trouble at the hospital.

Weibo user Huohuo is worried about the feasibility of the new law: “I don’t think ordinary people will go to court to deal with medical issues. In China, there is a long tradition of the law failing us, while the violators win. I just hope that China will be a developed country soon so that all Chinese people can enjoy free healthcare. It might be the best solution to decrease hospital disputes.”

“Doctors are the perfect target of revenge.”

There are also Weibo users who understand negative sentiments towards medical staff. Chinese doctors and other medical professionals are generally underpaid. The low income causes some of them to make extra money in “grey areas” such as drug kickbacks, over-prescription, and bribery. For many patients, this has ruined the image of doctors, and they find it hard to trust them. This partly explains why, when medical misfortune happens, doctors often are the perfect targets of revenge.

User East South West North comments: “Medical disputes happen for a reason. The truth is, that some doctors require patients to do unnecessary inspections so they can make profits. Patients have even died from counterfeit drugs prescribed by doctors.”

“I’m afraid no one wants to pursue a career in medicine if this vicious cycle keeps on growing.”

China’s violence against doctors has been cited as an important reason for a decrease in the popularity of healthcare career. User J_tomorrow points out that the government should heighten the punishment of ‘medical disturbance’ to ensure the safety of medical workers at hospitals: “Doctor is a high-risk and low-paid occupation in China. I’m afraid no one wants to pursue a career in medicine if this vicious cycle keeps on growing.”

Weibo user called Bottle of Chili admits that she has lost her passion of being a medical worker: “I used to be full of passion for my work, and I treated my patients with kindness. But after being misunderstood and humiliated by patients and their families years after years, I’m now doing my job like a robot. The whole society expects us to show selfless devotion, but we are humans after all!”

‘Medical disturbance crimination’ is the first step in improving the doctor-patient relationship. Many more measurements need to be taken in order to cope with this social problem. User Liyun expresses his support of the legal protection of medical worker. At the same time, he says: “We need to understand the underlying reasons of medical disturbance – the distrust between doctors and patients. Hospitals should not hide or cover up medical negligence. And patients should give medical workers the respect they deserve.”

Written by Yiying Fan

Edited by Manya Koetse

Image used: http://focus.cnhubei.com/consensus/200912/t883804.shtml