China / Society

Pushy parents provoke child-vote backlash

By Tang Yue (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-13 08:31

When friends asked Li Kang to vote for their child's work in a drawing competition, he agreed to help. The graphic designer from Cangzhou, Hebei province, who has studied art since childhood, opened the link and reviewed the entrants' work.

In his opinion, the top-ranked painting was not very good, but it garnered more than 2,000 votes, while a child he regarded as "very talented" gained just 24 votes.

"I was worried that the boy would feel bad about himself. It is too cruel," he said.

The following day, Li Kang phoned the kindergarten the child attended, and pretended to be his uncle so he could speak with him.

"I said 'I just want to tell you that the spaceship you drew was really good'. The cute kid giggled and replied, 'Actually it was a whale," Li Kang said.

According to the Jinhua Evening News survey, while 70 percent of respondents didn't agree with parents canvassing for their children, 26 percent said they would vote if asked, and 60 percent said they would consider voting, depending on their relationship with the child's parents.

Of those who have voted, 8 percent did so because they thought the children were "really great", while 66 percent voted to "give face" to friends. A further 21 percent ticked the box to facilitate an exchange of votes.

"Every parent thinks their baby is very cute, probably the cutest in the world, so I don't see the point of selecting the cutest one at all," said Lin Xiangzhen, the mother of a 2-year-old girl in Haikou, Hainan province.

"I am especially annoyed by people who offer hong bao - red envelopes that contain electronic money - on WeChat groups while canvassing for their babies. I always think, 'are you buying my votes for your baby?'" said the vocational school English teacher.

'Acquaintance society'

Yang Yiyin, a social psychology researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said canvassing for minors among friends and relatives is in line with China's traditional "acquaintance society", in which behavior is guided by kinship and emotion rather than reason and law.

Hot Topics