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When Parental Pressure Literally Becomes Too Much: Anxious Parents Make School Gates Collapse

There was so much pressure from the parents that the school gates came down.

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A remarkable incident occurred on April 22nd in Shandong’s Liaochang, where parents were waiting outside a private primary school for their children to finish their school entry interviews.

The parents, eager to find out how their children performed, were leaning at the school gate to get in when the entire gate suddenly collapsed, causing a chaotic scene.

It is generally believed that children’s educational future is decided as early as getting admitted to that one kindergarten or primary school, which adds to the stress among Chinese parents to get their child into the school of their choice; academic pressure starts from an early age.

China’s private education sector is flourishing. Depending on the school, there is often a wide variety of private classes and after-school activities and full-time or parttime boarding-school options. These private schools, such as the one in Liaochang, often have a strict selection procedure, including interviews with prospective students – as young as they may be.

In this case, the school had not anticipated the crowd and chaos during the interview procedures. Because of the sea of people, parents were unable to reach their children inside the school building. Eventually, the school had to bring all children to the more spacious playground so that their parents could collect them from there.

Although this incident is a rare example of parental pressure at school, it is not uncommon for Chinese parents to be so anxious to know about their children’s academic performance that they will go to extremes.

During the first day of school, dozens of parents often stand outside the school windows to catch a glimpse of their child; a post about this phenomenon went viral on Weibo last year when it said that: “If you spot these kinds of people near a preschool today, there’s no need to worry about them. They’re not bad people, they’re no kidnappers, it’s just that their child has their first day of school.”

The phenomenon of Chinese parents who cannot say goodbye to their schoolgoing children does not just occur outside kindergartens. In 2016, the so-called ‘tents of love’ (爱心帐篷) became a hot topic on Chinese social media.

When students have their first day at college, parents who come from far will often travel along with their children and spent the first days sleeping in tents outside the school. They do this to give their children both emotional and practical support, but perhaps more so to soothe their own separation anxiety.

“tents of love”: parents set up their tents at university campus to support their child.

About the Liaochang incident, some people on Weibo comment: “It must be so difficult for children to go to school and having to deal with their parents!”

Our video on this topic below:

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Miranda Barnes is a Chinese blogger and part-time translator with a strong interest in Chinese media and culture. Born in Shenyang, she used to work and live in Beijing and is now based in London. On www.abearandapig.com she shares news of her travels around Europe and Asia with her husband.

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    winona

    May 13, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    *shudders* smothering behaviour is already established as “love” in chinese and korean culture. this kind of behaviour really reminds me of those infuriating hello counsellor episodes. the one about a brother obsessed with his sister, and a wife who is stalked by her violent husband.

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China Local News

Massive Fire Breaks Out Near Qipan Mountain in Shenyang

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In the afternoon of April 17, local time, a massive fire broke out near Qipan Mountain in the city of Shenyang in China’s northeast Liaoning Province.

Videos circulating on Chinese social media show how thick clouds of black smoke could be seen from a distance.

News sources on Weibo say the fire broke out earlier in the afternoon and was soon spreading due to strong winds in the area.

People’s Daily reports that over 1300 people are currently involved in a major operation to clear the area and fight the fire, including some 300 people from the fire department and 500 military staff.

The hashtag “Shenyang Qipan Mountain on Fire” (#沈阳棋盘山着火#) was one of the top trending topics on Chinese social media by Wednesday night.

Qipan Mountain is the biggest natural scenic zone in Shenyang, covering 190 square kilometers. According to China Daily, the zone includes plant and animal reserves, a water sports area, a ski area, a hunting area, and a villa area.

At time of writing, there are no sources confirming what caused the fire and if it is under control yet.

The nearby Shenyang Zoo, however, did confirm on Weibo that the fire had not spread to its area and that the necessary emergency measures were taken to protect the wellbeing of their animals.

Many netizens expressed their concerns over the safety of the animals earlier in the day. Photos of animals being burnt in the fire were refuted and labeled as ‘fake news.’

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Online Controversy over Mandatory GPS Tracking Smartwatches for Chinese Street Cleaners

Being a street cleaner in 2019 China now involves wearing a mandatory smartwatch with GPS tracking.

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Image via Sina.com

The times of chatting with the neighbors, taking a break, or doing some shopping during work hours are seemingly over for Nanjing’s street cleaners now that their every move is monitored through a special smartwatch. News of the mandatory GPS tracking bracelets for sanitary workers triggered public outcry earlier this month. But it’s not just Nanjing street cleaners that are subjected to this policy.

Earlier this month, the introduction of smartwatches tracking the movements of street cleaners in Nanjing attracted the attention of Chinese netizens and international media after the new policy was made public on April 3rd.

In March of this year, the sanitation department in the Hexi area of Nanjing, Jiangsu, started a pilot with a smartwatch that sanitation workers are obliged to wear. The watch has a built-in real-time GPS tracking system, allowing the Nanjing Hexi Smart Sanitation Center to monitor workers’ movements.

In a short video published by Toutiao News, a spokesperson of the Smart Sanitation Command Center* explained that the smartwatch currently allows the company to assess the workers in three ways: they can register workers’ attendance, collect statistics of workers leaving their designated work area, and report on workers that remain in the same position exceeding the allowed amount of time.

Sanitation workers also commented on their new working system. One person interviewed said: “Why wouldn’t I be allowed to have a half-an-hour break? Look, the street is all clean, there is nothing to be cleaned up. They are crazy for making us move up and down the street for no reason.”

Street cleaners also said that the system would automatically report them if they had been in the same spot for more than twenty minutes. The smartwatch would then subsequently encourage them to move, calling out “Jiayou! Jiayou!” (“Come on! Come on!”).

That particular function was reportedly removed shortly after public outcry on the policy.

On Weibo, the hashtag “Smartwatch Automatically Yells ‘Jiayou'” (#智能手表自动喊加油#) received over 2,5 million views, with the majority of commenters strongly rejecting the new approach.

Most commenters on this issue argued that the implementation of the smartwatch is “immoral” and that the Nanjing workers are “treated as criminals.” Many others also pointed out that the workers, often senior citizens, should be able to rest for more than 20 minutes.

In light of the new policy, many people on social media also referred to the infamous fictional character Zhou “Bapi” (周扒皮). In the novel The Killing Wind, this landlord Zhou would stick his head into the henhouse stirring up the roosters to wake his laborers up earlier, so they would start working.

Some netizens came with an alternative solution, suggesting that the leaders of the company should wear the smartwatches themselves instead.

While the controversial function was eliminated, the GPS tracking function still stands.

Nanjing is not the first city to introduce GPS tracking smartwatches for its sanitary workers. Other cities where the same policy has been introduced are, for example, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and Qingdao, according to Chinese media outlet Global Times.

In the summer of 2018, various Chinese media outlets already reported about the introduction of smartwatches for street cleaners in Guangzhou. At the time, the smartwatch policy was described as an innovative way to solve staff deployment and management problems, giving team leaders more insights into the real-time position of the street cleaners.

Whether or not the smartwatches do indeed improve work efficiency of street cleaners is still unclear, but there are no indications that the smartwatch policy will be changed at this point.

The tough work conditions of Chinese street cleaners, who work long hours and receive minimal pay, regularly become an issue of debate on Chinese social media. Besides praising the hard work of China’s public cleaners, Chinese netizens often express their sympathy for the bad circumstances under which street sweepers have to work.

By Gabi Verberg

* (南京河西建环”智能环卫”综合调度监控指挥中心 Nanjing Hexi Jianhuan “Intelligent Sanitation” Integrated Dispatching Monitoring Command Center)

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2019 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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