Social media users wrong about Chinese boy ‘forced to do homework’ on subway train

Youngster asked his mother if he could work during the commute so he would have more time for play when he got home

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2017, 4:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 November, 2017, 5:31pm

A video of a young Chinese boy doing his homework on a fold-up table while riding a subway train sparked fresh fury online this week as social media users raced to rant about overworked schoolchildren and pushy parents.

“Parents are attaching too much importance to grades and turning their own social pressures on to their kids,” read a post on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like blogging service.

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“There has been talk about changing our examination-oriented education into a quality-oriented one in the past two decades, but in fact it’s getting worse,” the person continued.

While such comments undoubtedly have a place in the broader debate on the state of China’s education system, it would appear that in this instance they were somewhat inapposite.

A youngster was indeed videoed doing his homework on a Line 8 metro train in Shanghai on Monday evening, as reported by Thepaper.cn on Tuesday.

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However, there was no evidence he was being forced to do so. Nor did he appear to be under any kind of duress.

In actual fact, as his mother later explained, the child had complained of being bored and asked if he could do his homework so he would have more free time when he got home.

“My son said there was nothing to do on the subway, so could he finish his homework there so he could play at home,” she wrote in a post on the social media platform WeChat

“So I set up the table for him,” she said. “I just happened to be taking a table home.”

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The report did not name the woman or her son, nor did it clarify why she was “taking a table home”, but it is reasonable to assume she had no sinister motives.

The mother said also that her son doing homework on the train was not regular practice.