From the Chinese press

Updated: 2013-10-29 07:18

(China Daily)

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Robbing poor students' dignity

Shenyang University recently asked financially weak students to address a public audience and explain why they needed tuition grants. The move is not only an infringement on the privacy of the students, but also a blow to their dignity, says an article in Xinmin Evening News. Excerpts:

Financial aid is given to needy students to promote equality in the field of education and act as encouragement.

But by making the students speak about their poverty in public, the Shenyang University authorities ended up embarrassing as well as discouraging them. Some of the students became a laughing stock for the indifferent people in the audience. A few of the poor students seemed to have lost their self-esteem and could not even face their classmates after the event.

Supporters of the event said that given the limited aid quota, there was nothing wrong in making the students "compete" with each other to win public support for the financial grant.

But why should poor students suffer humiliation to get financial aid for their education? Distributing education grants and scholarships among students after exposing their poverty and privacy is the worst possible way of helping them.

Education grants and tuition waivers are not favors; they are encouragement for poor but bright students. Psychologists say poor people suffer, among other things, from emotional problems, such as inferiority complexes. So while extending financial aid to students, universities should be careful enough to respect their dignity.

Perils of smartphone addiction

A man buried in his smartphone while walking across a railway crossing in Nanjing had a close shave recently. He was so engrossed in his smartphone that he did not see the train coming until it brushed past him, throwing him to the ground. This should serve as a warning to smartphone addicts that they should be aware of their surroundings, especially while crossing roads, says an article on Excerpts:

The man survived a brush with death, but the incident forced the driver to stop the train. The 18-minute delay that the incident caused led to the disruption in the running of other trains. As a result, the arrival and departure schedules of a number of trains on the route were deferred.

Smartphone addiction has spread like a contagious disease. Take the subway or a bus and observe your fellow passengers and you can see how deep smartphone or tablet addiction runs in Chinese society. If people don't reduce their dependence on mobile phones, they could soon fall in trouble.

Some of the harms, such as distraction from study or work, smartphone addition can cause are already evident. Worse, some addicts become apathetic to relatives and friends.

In a tragic case, a 17-year-old girl, playing on her phone while walking on a street, failed to see an open manhole and fell into it and lost her life.

Some people would blame the smartphone for the tragedy, when in fact people's weakening self-control and self-discipline are to blame for it. We should let all smartphone users and would-be users know that addiction is something we could all do without.

Public power not forces of Foxconn

It is reported that a vocational college in Xi'an has suspended its agreement with Foxconn to send students doing internships in Foxconn, as many queries have arisen in public. However, it is not the first case exposed by media that Foxconn recruiting students as interns to increase its labor force, says an article in Legal Daily. Excerpts:

In fact, the reason Foxconn recruits students as interns is mainly because of its own labor shortage, and more importantly, the super-national treatment the company enjoys in some local areas in China is also a determining factor for such cases.

According to a survey in 2012, in order to attract investment, some local governments misused common resources to help Foxconn solve its labor shortage, even using administrative orders to give assignments to different departments and officials a political mission. So some vocational schools are now becoming intermediary agents to send students to the company.

Foxconn, a major supplier for Apple seems quite important for local governments' GDP and investment. However, its reputation in the labor market is not so good, people even call it a "sweatshop". If local public power becomes the productive force of Foxconn, it is hard to imagine how many such cases will happen in the future. Therefore, something must be done to stop this situation.

(China Daily 10/29/2013 page9)