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China

Back-To-School In China - Instead Of Shiny Red Apples, Teachers Get Cash And Gucci Bags

WUHAN MORNING POST (China), CHINA TIMES (Taiwan)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING - These days, being a teacher in China comes with its perks. Not only would the position offer you absolute imperial authority, but you would also get lots of presents. Some very NICE presents.

September 10 was Teacher’s Day, and on that day Chinese teachers are spoiled rotten, according to the Wuhan Morning Post. From gift vouchers, to perfume, cosmetics, scarves, flowers, and chocolate, more than 60% of Chinese parents admit that they spend on average 200 to 500 RMB ($30 to $50) on presents for teachers according to a survey by the newspaper.

Except during the Cultural Revolution, teaching has always been considered as a particularly respected profession, a tradition inherited from Confucianism. Today though, most Chinese parents believe that their child will be “treated better” if they lavish gifts onto the teachers.

Just like the prevalent corruption of Chinese officials, the culture of gift giving to teachers has changed, turning into a way to bribe teachers into giving better grades.

“I saw a little girl carrying two Gucci bags this morning when I was sending my son to school…” the China Times quoted a blogger from Shenzhen city.

In fact, in richer urban areas, parents do not hesitate to hand over a “red envelope:” In China, a little red envelope filled with money is given during holidays or special occasions. The amount of money in the envelope can be as much as 10,000 RMB ($1600).

Ms. Lee, a kindergarten teacher, told the China Times: “I myself gave a whole month’s salary in a big red envelope to my daughter’s teacher. The majority of parents do it. If we don’t follow, we are afraid our child will be ignored,” Lee said.

Bao Xiaoming, a parent from Shanghai said, “Before I started giving a red envelope to the kindergarten teacher, my daughter often came home complaining that she was starving to death. Now she comes home telling me she is full. Besides, each time the teacher gets a present, my daughter gets praise on the following days… Now I have the conditioned reflex – whenever my daughter gets criticized at school, I ask myself whether or not it’s time again to give a gift."

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