From the Chinese press

Updated: 2014-08-04 07:33

(China Daily)

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New code of conduct for pupils

On Aug 1, the Ministry of Education published the draft of an updated code of conduct for primary and secondary school pupils, which aroused concern because it deleted requirements like boldly fighting criminals, and added clauses about self-protection. However, the new draft is more practical, says an article on Excerpts:

Over 200 million pupils nationwide are expected to follow the code of conduct; so, in principle, those who draft the code have to consider the pupils' safety and make it practical for them to follow.

The old version failed to meet these requirements. It required the pupils, mostly aged between 6 and 16, to do dangerous deeds such as fighting criminals. It's hard to imagine pupils will follow these dogmatic requirements without even understanding what they mean.

Besides these requirements, the old code did not mention pupils' rights.

That's why the old code was generally criticized for being impractical and the new draft should be seen as progress. The new draft deletes the out-dated dogma and instead favors the pupils' lives and interests instead - about one-third of the draft is about pupils protecting themselves.

Compared with the old version that treated pupils like objects of discipline, the new draft pays more attention to them as people.

More importantly, the new draft is shorter but has listed details for most requirements. For example, in the part on environmental protection, it calls on pupils to do garbage sorting and to lead a low-carbon lifestyle; in the part on self-protection, it expects pupils to stay away from drugs to learn to call for help when in need. Both are easy to follow.

Hence it can be predicted that the new draft will be more effective and we expect pupils to grow up healthy following the new code of conduct.

Help seniors not to commit suicide

A six-year research project on suicides committed by elderly people in rural areas in 11 provinces has thrown up some shocking results. The study conducted by a lecturer in Wuhan University shows that many of the people chose to end their lives because of "survival difficulties", says an article in Excerpts:

Aside from "survival difficulties", the other major reason why senior citizens in rural areas commit suicide is because they cannot bear the pain that diseases cause. In fact, the two reasons account for about 60 percent of all suicides committed by elderly people.

Although senior citizens living in cities also suffer from diseases and face similar difficulties, they are not as vulnerable as those living in rural areas because they have better access to medical care and social welfare. This is a problem that deserves more attention of the authorities and the public alike.

Many young people have migrated from rural areas to cities in search of better livelihoods leaving behind their old parents or children in villages. Although such people do get better-paying jobs in cities, their family bonds - between young and old people - seem to be gradually breaking. As a result, more senior citizens are left to fend for themselves because their offspring cannot or will not take care of them. This makes senior citizens more vulnerable to diseases and depression.

Worse, senior citizens in rural areas could become victims of some people giving wrong advice that suicide is the best way of ridding oneself of the pains and sufferings of this world.

Therefore, the authorities and relatives, especially grown-up children of senior citizens, should find the reasons why elderly people are forced to commit suicide and address them by at least providing them medical and economic support, and taking measures to solve their psychological problems.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 08/04/2014 page9)