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Child prodigy stirs up praise, doubt   2011-05-06 17:02:00

At the age of two, he demonstrated a strong interest in watching China's Central Television news; at seven, he adopted the habit of reading the People's Daily newspaper. Now Huang Yibo, 13, has published more than 100 articles in newspapers and magazines.

Huang, who comes from the city of Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, has recently been hailed as a political prodigy by Chinese netizens, stirring up a mixture of praise, doubt and satire.

Huang's popularity started with a picture he posted on his microblog last week. In the picture, he is shown reading some documents, posing like a professional politician and wearing an astonishing "five-bar" armband.

Chinese primary school students wear white armbands with red bars to acknowledge their positions as "young pioneers" for the Communist Party. Two bars indicate that a student is a class monitor, three strokes normally mean that the student is a grade-level leader. Huang's five-bar armband indicates that he is the chief of Wuhan's "young pioneers".

Huang's five-bar armband, his prudent gaze and zeal for politics have amazed Internet users and given his microblog more than one million hits in just a few days.


In the introduction to his blog, Huang writes that he is focused on cultivating his moral discipline, aspires to contribute to humankind and feels responsible for bringing prosperity and stability to the Chinese nation.

Huang's mother told local media that the boy has a great interest in history and politics and that he cares about the livelihood of the Chinese people.

Although Huang has been praised by many, others have cast a doubtful sight on his accomplishments, saying that the child is actually a victim of his parents' own overbearing ambition.

A netizen named "Rosa rubus in the moonlight" believes that Huang's behavior and mentality are not natural for a boy of his age.

"It's sad that the boy has lost the innocence that is consistent with his age. It is unnatural and harmful to the development of the boy's personality. Either his parents or society should take the blame for this." the netizen wrote.

Hu Yinbin, another netizen, says that Huang is a lonely and misunderstood genius, and that people should not judge him with their own understanding of what an ordinary 13-year-old child should be like.


Class is over, and Huang is walking out of the classroom, talking and laughing with his friends.

Huang says that he feels upset about the online criticism. "Those people who dislike me actually don't know much about me. I believe that if they knew me in person, they would change their minds."

In the eyes of school headmaster Huang Hengzhong, Huang is no difference from other children in the school. Huang Hengzhong says that while the child is not necessarily outstanding in his academic performance, he has a great personality and outstanding leadership skills.

However, what impresses the headmaster most is the student's title of "Charitable Person of Wuhan", which he received by sending money earned from his articles to poor elderly people.

Huang's parents say that they are also disturbed by the boy's overnight popularity and that they feel hurt by online criticism of their child-rearing methods.

Huang Hongzhang, Yibo's father, says, "We don't expect that our son will become a politician when he grows up. He will be left to make his own career choices in the future. We taught him to read books and newspapers at a young age to broaden his horizons."

"I don't think my son is a prodigy. He is just an ordinary kid who is determined, independent and kind-hearted," Huang Hongzhang adds.


Zhang Ming, a professor of political science at the Renmin University of China, wrote in an online article that Huang Yibo is an example of Chinese education being negatively influenced by traditional Chinese culture, which attaches great importance to official positions and ranks.

Watching the news and reading newspapers at such a young age can cause imbalances in a child's knowledge and personality, Zhang says, adding that the awareness of the importance of official rankings can distort children's value systems.

Parents and educators should protect the innocence of children and let them grow up naturally, says headmaster Huang Hengzhong. Huang believes that the development of a child's personality can be harmed if his or her parents instill a strong sense of self-importance from an early age.

Parents should provide their children with enough space for them to discover and develop their own interests and personalities, Huang says.

Sun Yunxiao, deputy director of the China Youth and Children Research Center, said in an article published by the China Daily newspaper that it is unfair to judge a child according to information reported by the media.

Some of Huang's teachers worry that the negative comments will hurt the child, and they hope that people can be more tolerant about the way in which Huang is being raised.

source : Xinhua     editor:: Shirley
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