In their quest for social harmony, Chinese people look civic responsibility in the face every day. However, as Wang Yanlin points out, a new middle school policy in the city of Shenyang threatens to undermine this daily struggle:
Several heavy snow falls in Shenyang created a difficult question for middle school teachers there. According to the city’s rule, middle school students also have the responsibility to help clearing the snow that blocks the streets. However, many schools decided to demand “snow-clearing” fees and invite city cleaners to do the job … Their major concern is the safety problem. With more vehicles which run faster, teachers fear students could easily be caught in a traffic accident. They demand five yuan (61 US cents) of each student as the fee to exempt them of the labor. But it is the least desirable way to solve the problem. Students could easily believe that money works in everything. See, five yuan can buy so-called social responsibility. Is it possible that money can make a criminal innocent or a lie true? There are many other ways, such as choosing a suitable time or place for the activity. Or simply, teachers could ask the government to consider canceling such a rule. But don’t ask students to pay. It is misleading.
Misleading indeed. Thank Jeebus for modern-day moral vanguards such as Wang Yanlin, whose watchful eyes keep society safe from the encroachment of those selfish tendencies that seek to undermine society as we know it.
Wang Yanlin, Shanghaiist salutes you!
Photo from Bigfoto.