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Chinese little emperors now learn to say 'thanks'
Updated: 2005-11-25 11:52

Thanksgiving isn't a Chinese tradition, but many people think it's high time that privileged one-child "little emperors" give thanks to their parents for their sacrifices.

One technical school in the northern Hebei Province is reminding students to "cherish your parents, work hard and repay their love."

Hundreds of students responded to the call by signing their names on a poster. One signer said his name would express his filial piety.

Prior to the Western Thanksgiving Day, which fell yesterday, education authorities in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang launched a "thanksgiving" campaign among nearly 100,000 students from 60 schools and universities.

The students, all born between the middle and late 1980s and mostly only children, were told to figure out how much their parents have paid for their education and compare the costs with their families' annual income.

They were urged to write their parents a letter of thanks, prepare a public speech on the topic and take concrete actions to show their gratitude, said Li Gang, a publicity official with the Shijiazhuang municipal government.

"The youngsters must learn to be grateful," said Wang Dongmei, an official in charge of students' affairs at Shijiazhuang Technical School.

Wang's school has 12,100 students, but a recent survey shows nearly a half of them never write to their parents.

Forty-one percent of the students said they wrote once, but admitted it was actually an assignment rather than a voluntary expression.

Ironically though, many parents were rather worried by the unexpected thanksgiving letters and began to wonder what was wrong with their children. "Some even took half a day's train ride just to make sure their children were okay," said a school official. "It is a surprise indeed because very few people still post those 'snail mails."'

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