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Middle class hierarchy report sparks online debate

By Guo Kai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-06-02 17:56

A recent report stating middle class Chinese children tend to look down on those who are not as fortunate has sparked a heated debate online. The article was published in Phoenix Weekly, a magazine based in Hong Kong.

Families with an annual income between 50,000 yuan and 1 million yuan are considered middle class in China. The huge gap between them has seen disparity in the middle class.

The article described a scenario of two young Chinese girls, both with English names, excluding a young Chinese boy, in the playground as he did not have an English name.

It then stated one of the girl's mothers felt relieved and satisfied with her decision to let the daughter to learn English, as having an English name was a symbol of having a good education.

The report also listed a range of complicated scenarios people from middle class families have to deal with on a daily basis, such as families having to compete with each other in order to get their children into a good kindergarten in Chengdu, and Hong Kong parents calculating the perfect time to get pregnant and have a baby.

According to Phoenix Weekly, parents who give their children nothing but the best – when buying toys, preschool classes, clothes, animations, cartoons and tourism destinations – will prompt them to compare their lifestyles to peers.

It also stated children and their parents living in better conditions would have a better chance at obtaining a higher position than others in any field or situation. As an example, children at an international school with foreign teachers may feel superior to other children's attending a school with local staff instead.

A WeChat user, who goes by the name Xianqingouji, said it was wrong parents offered better conditions to their children but despised others.

"Moral cultivation is very important and it could not be based on money," the user said.

Xu Xiaoteng, another net user, said the report was probably a soft advertisement for businesses in the English education sector.

"It boats of the English education's favorites like making friends, and expecting parents to spend money on it."

Lei Shuya, a commentator of the Qianjiang Evening News, said making friends was based on the common interest of people; however, in the report, it was stated it was because of contempt.

"It is good for people to feel comfortable in the social contacts, either adults or children," Lei said.

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