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Mother demands change to lighten pupils' burden


11:02, November 27, 2012

A SOFT-SPOKEN mother becomes an agitated campaigner when talking about Chinese children buried under loads of schoolwork.

Hu Lanlan has written to the Ministry of Education, appealing for changes she believes will be crucial for saving China's more than 200 million children.

Hu, whose teenage twins attend junior high school in Beijing, was prompted to write the letter after a series of suicides over poor grades or heavy loads of schoolwork, she said.

Ten years ago, a friend's 14-year-old son hanged himself because he had not finished his mountain of schoolwork and feared punishment.

"Similar tragedies, however, are still happening today," she wrote in the letter. "Each year, dozens of children commit suicide under the pressure of too much homework and their parents' expectations for them to enter top schools."

The youngest of these children was just nine years old.

Last Tuesday, a 12-year-old boy in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, jumped from a 16th-floor window, leaving behind an English exercise book in which he wrote: "I'm going to die. Bye."

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