Child journalists ready for prime time

Updated: 2012-11-15 03:59

By AN BAIJIE (China Daily)

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Education and scientific issues are the top concerns for 11-year-old journalist Sun Luyuan, one of a handful of child reporters covering the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Sun, a primary school student from Beijing and a reporter for Chinese Teenagers News, attracted public attention after she asked Minister of Education Yuan Guiren a question on the sidelines of the congress on Friday.

"Most of us primary and middle school students have lunch at school, so how can the ministry ensure the safety of our lunch?" she asked. She also said that she likes snacks but doesn't dare eat them for fear of inferior quality and bacteria.

Yuan responded that the ministry will work with food safety authorities to ensure safe lunches for students through strict supervision of food purchases, cafeteria monitoring and food distribution.

Sun, from a weekly newspaper with a circulation of 500,000 nationwide — mainly readers from primary schools — said she was satisfied with the reply.

"It gives me lots of hope for children's food safety in the future," Sun told China Daily. She said that food safety is also a big concern for her classmates, and many of them praised her after she raised the question.

Wearing her red scarf — a symbol of membership of China's Young Pioneers — Sun also cares about education for students in less-developed regions and said she found hope in the report made by President Hu Jintao on Nov 8.

"Grandpa Hu said in his speech that the Party is to enhance educational fairness, and I can't agree more," she said, adding that children in rural areas cannot enjoy the same quality of education as urban students.

"I have been to some countryside primary schools, and there are neither libraries nor sports fields in some of them," she said. "The kids in underdeveloped regions should enjoy the same rights of education."

Sun's colleague, 11-year-old reporter Zhang Jiahe, also shone at the congress that drew more than 2,700 journalists from home and abroad.

Zhang is also a reporter for the weekly newspaper.

"I am curious about whether China's manned submersible Jiaolong can detect any new species of creature in the deep sea," he said.

He also told Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Jiang Weixin during a news conference on the sidelines of the congress: "Nowadays, houses are so expensive that many parents spend all their money on buying an apartment and even borrow lots of money from banks. They don't have extra money to buy toys for their kids."

Fu Wentao, a delegate and one of the three Chinese oceanauts in Jiaolong, arranged an interview for Zhang.

"I admired uncle Fu very much when I talked with him," Zhang said. "I also felt proud of the technological progress made by our country."

Chang Jiang, 27, an editor at Chinese Teenagers News and the leader of the children's reporting group, praised the children for their outstanding performance at the congress.

"It's interesting that the children can find the parts in which they are interested in the keynote speech made by President Hu," she said. "It's the responsibility of everyone, including the children, to care about the development of our country."

The child reporters discussed news angles with the newspaper's senior editors every day during the congress, and sometimes the ideas raised by the child reporters were beyond the adults' expectation, she said.

"One of the child reporters asked Yu Dan (a delegate and professor) why students have to recite classic works by ancient Chinese poets," she said. "Adults take it for granted that reciting classics is a must for children, and we never consider whether we really need it or not."

Through reporting the political event, the child reporters can get a better understanding of the Party's policy and decision-making mechanism, Chang said.

The reporters' stories have not been published yet as the newspaper is weekly, but their coverage will surely draw the attention of children nationwide, Chang said.

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