Children, Rights and Modernity in China: Raising by O. Naftali

By O. Naftali

This e-book is an unique, ethnographic learn of the emergence of a brand new kind of pondering kids and their rights in city China. It brings jointly facts from quite a few chinese language govt, educational, pedagogic and media guides, and from interviews and player observations performed in faculties and houses in Shanghai, China.

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Additional info for Children, Rights and Modernity in China: Raising Self-Governing Citizens

Sample text

However, in affirming the duties of adult children toward their parents, the Constitution is as concerned with the promotion of reciprocal harmonious relations within the family as with the guarantee of children’s individual rights (see Information Office of the State Council of the PRC, 1996). The legislative measures of the early 1980s in China emphasize the equal status of children within the family and highlight the role of the law in regulating family affairs. At the same time, however, the new Marriage Law and the Constitution also seek to limit children’s rights vis-à-vis their parents while rehabilitating the traditional notion of filial piety.

For the first time in PRC history, the law further asserts children’s right to personal privacy (geren yinse) and to receive adequate time for “sleep and entertainment” according to their mental and physical developmental requirements. One of the pivotal questions underlying any discussion of children’s rights is whether children actually have the capacity to make choices on their own and to clearly express these choices (Archard, 2004: 54; see also Schoeman, 1983). While the UNCRC details a series of civil and political “participation rights,” and strongly advocates the idea that children are capable of taking part in decisions which affect their lives (at least when they reach a certain age and level of maturity), China’s Law on the Protection of Minors lacks such a clear assertion; the law only stipulates children’s right “to 40 Children, Rights and Modernity in China express their views in matters concerning them” within the family and requires educators to foster students’ “ability for independent thinking” at school.

For their part, students should take charge of the learning process and occupy a so-called “subject” (zhuti) position within the classroom (Zhang Hua, 1997, 2002). Moreover, students should be allowed, even encouraged, to correct their teachers whenever they make a mistake, instead of “automatically accepting what the teacher says as dictated by the Confucian ethos of filial piety” (Cui and Huang, 2002: 190; Zhou, 2005; see also Xiaoxuesheng xinli, 2000: 42–3). As Zhou Feng, a Guangdong education scholar, put it in an argument typical of the Education for Quality literature: Children are masters of their own lives (ziji shengming de zhuren) and have a right to develop and learn….

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