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China, Stop Forcing Young Kids To Compete

The Chinese education system forces pre-school children to learn to read and write, rather than develop at a natural pace, and discover the joys of just growing up.

Let her play!
Let her play!
Xiong Bingqi and Lu Yueling

BEIJING — Recently the Beijing Municipal Education Commission announced that it will begin to ban nursery schools and kindergartens from teaching primary school subjects such as English, spelling and arithmetic. Schools that violate the regulation "will be held severely accountable."

This is not the first ordinance of its kind, after the capital’s education authorities had already issued special orders in 2012 forbidding pre schools from conducting early learning in so-called interest classes, special talent classes and experiment classes. Beijing also outlawed homework for children before first grade. Still, three years on, the real situation in the classroom hasn’t changed.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Inside Russia’s Revival Of Stalinist “Filtration Camps”

Though different than concentration camps constructed by Nazis, the “filtration” facilities nevertheless recalls a brutal history, and have been reopened under Putin, and ramped up since the invasion of Ukraine.

Civilians leaving Mariupol on foot

Anna Akage

"It was like a true concentration camp."

This is how Oleksandr, a 49-year-old man from Mariupol, described where he and his wife Olena were taken in by Russian security officers. Speaking to a reporter for the BBC, the couple was fingerprinted, photographed and interrogated for hours, and their phones searched for material that could somehow identify them as “Nazis.”

But there is another name given to that these locations, and the process, that have been set up to handle Ukrainians taken into custody in areas occupied by pro-Russian separatists: They’re called: “filtration camps.”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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