Thursday, September 13, 2007

Experts Voice Worries over Chinese Education in Colleges, Once Again

English is one of the major courses in Chinese schools

Chinese language education is being “marginalized” in colleges and students could not use their native language very well, experts warned.

Some universities have canceled Chinese classes, and textbooks in use are of mixed quality. Today’s college students often pick the wrong expressions, confuse with characters and use poor syntax in their Chinese writing, experts say.

Such a situation is largely due to too much emphasis on English learning, says Wen Rumin, chair of the Chinese Department at Peking University. Many netizens would agree with him and expressed aversions toward too much weight given to English, calling it a big mistake of China’s education and mocking, “What’s the use of learning Chinese? Let’s just study English and talk to each other in English in streets.”

Indeed, English seems to be everywhere in Chinese people’s life. “How many companies turned down job applicants because of their Chinese? How many literature on advanced technology are written in Chinese? How many excellent Chinese movies are out there to satisfy our spiritual needs?” One poster asked.

But a couple of comments denied the notion that people’s Chinese skills are deteriorating. “Native language is something that we are using every day…and we never stopped practicing it.”

Chinese government has promoted a National Professional Chinese Test since 2003, to assess Chinese reading and writing abilities of professionals, especially those working for government agencies and schools. The test results are supposed to be used as a benchmark for hiring and promotion.

Meanwhile, the debate about whether too much attention has been given to English education over Chinese education is likely to go on. It’s not just about language learning. A large part of the debate has been related to the survival and development of Chinese culture in an English-dominating world.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Chinese Authorities Regulate Sexual Content in Broadcast

commercials with sexual implications are often seen on Chinese television

Prompted by some sex talk programs on several radio stations in Sichuan, China’s broadcast regulator has banned television and radio stations from planning, producing and broadcasting programs relating to sex life, experience or medicines.

Calling such programs “obscene,” the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said programs containing sexual content are not allowed for “any reason or under any name,” and vowed to punish those responsible for the programs on Sichuan provincial and Chengdu municipal radio stations, both run by local governments.

As Chinese broadcasters, all owned and supervised by the government, pursue higher profits, programs containing sexual content are gaining more air time, while the central authorities still take sex as a taboo in mass media like television because it “seriously pollutes the social atmosphere, harms the physical and mental health of the young and undermines the image of broadcasters.”

The SARFT has made several efforts in recent years trying to keep the air clean. Just last month, the administration issued a ban on commercials with “sex implications” in addition to those for sex improvement products.

Despite all the bans and regulations, Chinese public are only seeing more and more sexual content, in one way or another, in the media around them.