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English>>China Society

Young Pioneers look for new path

By Lin Meilian (Global Times)

08:15, October 25, 2012

"Be prepared to struggle for the cause of communism!" As other children saluted the Communist Party of China (CPC) and swore their loyalty on the playground, Tao Hongkai, 6, was alone in the classroom studying.

Tao, a primary student at Wuhan's Shuiguohu Primary School in Hubei Province, was the only one among his 50 classmates to not join the Young Pioneers - a State-run organization of 130 million children under the leadership of the CPC.

As a result, he was not allowed to wear a red scarf, the emblem of the Young Pioneers, or join any related activities.

"I envied them so much that I saluted in front of a mirror at home," Tao told the Global Times. "But I never felt empty because I had my own goals."

Six decades later, Tao is a sociologist and an expert on helping Internet-addicted children.

"I could focus on studying and accomplishing my goal - to be a useful person in society," he said, looking back to the days when he was not a Young Pioneer.

Almost every primary school student between 6 and 14 years of age in China joins the Young Pioneers, which is widely seen as being a great honor. Being excluded from the organization would be seen as a blemish on one's record.

However, in recent years, as social values have diversified, some parents have begun to doubt the meaning of their children being "successors of communism" and discourage their kids from joining the Young Pioneers. They say they worry their children might be influenced by an ideology at such an early stage of life.

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