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China: Around The Nation

Parents take their children, five and eight, around the world – on foot

Travel experience offers them a better education than school, parents claim

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 April, 2017, 7:22pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 April, 2017, 7:22pm

A couple from in eastern China have spent the last couple of years taking their eight-year-old son and daughter aged five to some of the world’s most inaccessible places, mostly by foot – experiences the parents say are better than a school education, according to a mainland newspaper report.

The family from Shangrao, Jiangxi province had travelled through the Himalayan mountain range and tropical forests of southern Asia, each carrying a backpack and sometimes journeying for months on foot, the West China City Daily reported.

In September they plan to challenge Lop Nur, a formidable desert in Xinjiang formerly used by the Chinese military as a nuclear weapons test range. For the safety of the children, however, the parents decided to hire a backup car to follow them this time.

“We haven’t been to a desert yet. I want the children to have a look, to adapt to the environment and climate, and to know the value of water,” their father Pan Tufeng was quoted as saying.

Yuan Dan, the mother of the children, said both had grown fitter and more healthy, and did not cry easily whey they faced of setbacks.

Chinese traveller visits both ends of the globe - at the age of four

The son, Bairu, now in primary school, had to drop classes for months to make the trips. The father said he would not send his daughter, Wenwen, to a kindergarten.

The parents comments sparked heated discussions on mainland social media, with critics deriding the parent’s behaviour as “selfish” and “irresponsible”.