Can Confucius Institutes Follow Both Chinese and Canadian Law?

26 October, 2014 at 07:21 | Posted in Children, China, Falun Dafa/Falun Gong, human rights, Society | Leave a comment
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By Omid Ghoreishi
Epoch Times

Is it possible for Confucius Institutes, a Beijing-controlled educational program cited by Chinese officials as a tool to extend the regime’s “soft power,” to follow both Chinese law and the law of the hosting nation?

A clause in the agreement between the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the headquarters of Confucius Institute (CI) obtained by Epoch Times through a request under Ontario’s Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act says that CI activities must be in accordance with the laws and regulations of both Canada and China. The school board, Canada’s largest, will vote on whether to terminate its partnership with the CI on Oct. 29.

Experience in at least one Canadian institution shows that this is impractical since in many cases the laws of the one-party totalitarian state contradict those of Canada’s parliamentary democracy, and so it may be that the Canadian law gets dispensed with.

“Canadian law is equality, non-discrimination,” explains David Matas, a Winnipeg-based human rights lawyer. China’s laws, on the other hand, institute “repression, discrimination, hostility,” toward any group the Chinese Communist Party chooses to target, including Falun Gong, Tibetans, Uyghurs, and democracy activists, among many others, Matas says.

In 2012/13, Matas took on a case involving a Confucius Institute instructor at McMaster University who, like other instructors hired in China to come to the university’s CI, had to sign a contract promising not to practice Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation system severely persecuted in China.

Sonia Zhao signed the contract out of fear that her refusal might reveal to Chinese officials that she in fact practices Falun Gong and as a result could face imprisonment like her mother, also a Falun Gong adherent.

“Initially [McMaster’s] defence was that it is not their jurisdiction and they didn’t know about it,” Matas says.

“I argued to the contrary that it was their jurisdiction because it was happening in Ontario and they must have known about it because the Hanban (CI headquarters in China) hiring policy was published on its website in English.”

Epoch Times reported in 2011 that Hanban has a stipulation in English on its main website stating that teachers at CIs must have “no record of participation in Falun Gong.”

Epoch Times also reported earlier this year that the website of Hunan University, which has an agreement to supply instructors for the TDSB’s CI, states that teaching candidates “will be assessed to ensure they meet political ideology requirements.”

‘No Alignment’

For its part, McMaster held discussions with CI headquarters to eliminate the discriminatory requirement for the instructors coming to Canada. However, Hanban wouldn’t back down.

Eventually, the university decided to end its CI program since the Beijing-run organization didn’t follow human rights values and principles that the university follows and “holds dear.”

“There wasn’t alignment between what was happening in the two countries,” says Andrea Farquhar, assistant vice president of public and government relations at McMaster.

“Although we tried to see if there could possibly be a solution, it turned out that there wasn’t, so we did give them notice in December of 2012 that we would be closing [the CI], and it closed in 2013.”

‘Political Arms’ of Beijing

McMaster isn’t the only institution to close its CI. The Canadian Association of University Teachers issued a statement late last year calling on all Canadian universities and colleges to cut ties with CIs, calling them “political arms of the Chinese government.” Shortly after, the University of Sherbrooke ended its CI program.

South of the Border, the American Association of University Professors echoed the statement of its Canadian counterpart and asked all American universities not to partner with CIs, saying hosting one enables CIs to “advance a state agenda in the recruitment and control of academic staff, in the choice of curriculum, and in the restriction of debate.”

Two prominent U.S. universities, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago, decided to end their relationships with CIs in the last couple of months.

Intelligence agencies and experts, including former Canadian Security Intelligence Service senior manager Michel Juneau-Katsuya, have also indicated that CIs are involved in espionage activities for Beijing.

The TDSB’s CI partnership was originally championed by former chair Chris Bolton while the rest of the board was kept in the dark about the details of the agreement. Bolton resigned in June a few months before the end of his term amidst concerns raised by parents and many of the trustees about the partnership.

Earlier this month, a TDSB committee voted to terminate the board’s CI partnership. That decision will be voted on by the entire board during a general meeting on Oct. 29.

via Can Confucius Institutes Follow Both Chinese and Canadian Law? – The Epoch Times

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Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPhones or iPads: Why Not?

27 September, 2014 at 07:44 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, health, IT and Media, Technology | Leave a comment
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By Zachary Stieber
Epoch Times

Steve Jobs, the Apple visionary, didn’t let his children use iPhones or iPads when he was alive.

Jobs, who helped create many of Apple’s most famous products, was the father of two teenage girls and a son before he passed away in 2011.

New York Times reporter Nick Bilton recently revealed a portion of an interview he once had with Jobs.

“So, your kids must love the iPad?” Bilton asked.

“They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home,” Jobs responded.

“‘m sure I responded with a gasp and dumbfounded silence. I had imagined the Jobs’s household was like a nerd’s paradise: that the walls were giant touch screens, the dining table was made from tiles of iPads and that iPods were handed out to guests like chocolates on a pillow,” Bilton added. “Nope, Mr. Jobs told me, not even close.”

Jobs didn’t elaborate in the interview, but Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, confirmed that Jobs valued time with his family away from screens.

“Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things,” Isaacson wrote.

“No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”

The NYT article includes quotes from a number of those involved in the tech world who also strictly limit their children’s screen time, including banning all gadgets on school nights.

“My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules,” Chris Anderson, CEO of 3d Robotics, said of his five children, 6 to 17. “That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself, I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”

Bilton says that the dangers he refers to include harmful content such as pornography, cyber bullying, and becoming addicted to devices.

via Steve Jobs Didn’t Let His Kids Use iPhones or iPads: Why Not?

Why You Should Reduce Cellphone Radiation Risk for Children and How You Can – The Epoch Times

10 July, 2014 at 10:46 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Environmental issues, health, IT and Media, Science, Society, sustainable development, Technology | Leave a comment
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By June Fakkert
Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Scientists don’t all agree about how much electromagnetic radiation risks cellphones and other devices pose to fetuses and young children, but governments, health organizations, and insurance companies are advocating precautions.

The rapid development of a baby in the womb is a stunningly delicate process, and disruptions to it can have life-long repercussions.

“We know that exposures that occur during pregnancy can have life-long impact due to these window periods of vulnerability that occur as the brain grows and develops,” said Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein, an integrative pediatric neurologist board-certified in adult and child neurology and pediatrics. She spoke at a recent press conference for the BabySafe Wireless Project, an initiative to raise awareness about risks of electromagnetic exposure in young children.

Children have smaller brains, thinner skulls, softer brain tissue, and a higher number of rapidly dividing cells, which makes them more susceptible to damage from cellphone exposure than adults, Dr. Shetreat-Klein said.

“Disturbing scientific data continues to be revealed regarding the effects of cellphone radiation on developing brains.”

One such study was lead by Dr. Hugh Taylor, chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine.

Researchers put cellphones in the cages of pregnant mice, turned some of the cellphones on continuously during the pregnancy, and kept others completely off. The young mice whose mothers were exposed to radiation from the activated cellphones were more hyperactive and had poorer memories than the young mice whose mothers lived with the powered-off cellphones.

“They were running around these cages bouncing off the walls, not a care in the world, something that in our eyes resembles attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children,” Taylor said at the press conference.

Electromagnetic Fields and Common Sense

Underlying the debate about the risks of electromagnetic radiation is the fact that electromagnetic fields can be natural—such as the build-up of ions in the air before a thunderstorm, as well as manmade—such as the energy of a microwave oven that boils your tea water in two to three minutes.

The frequency of an electromagnetic field determines its effect on the human body. So while we aren’t afraid of being exposed to pre-storm air, common sense (and manufacturer safety mechanisms) stop us from sticking our hands into an active microwave to see if our water is hot.

The frequency of the radiation emitted by cellphones, tablets, and Wi-Fi routers falls somewhere between storm air and microwaves, and their safety profile is a murky gray area that requires consumers to stay informed and aware, and to take precautions—even if the science isn’t conclusive.

Cellphone Safety Standards

A reason researchers aren’t likely to definitively prove that cellphone radiation harms children is that it would be unethical to conduct necessary studies. Such experiments would require test and control groups, and no parent would sign up their child to be in the test group, Dr. Devra Davis points out.

Davis is the president of Environmental Health Trust and award-winning author of “Disconnect: The Truth About Cellphone Radiation, What the Industry Is Doing to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family.”

According to Davis, cellphones were originally tested on full-grown men and have never been tested on women and children.

Cellphone safety standards have also not been updated in 17 years, since smartphones, tablets, and Wi-Fi became ubiquitous, and the sight of a radiation-emitting device in a child’s hand became common.

Now toy manufacturers produce plastic teething cases with colorful plastic bells and whistles that allow the youngest babies to get really close to their screens, reminding Davis of the baby suits that were once made with asbestos fibers.

The take-home message is one of precaution—that every parent can limit young children’s electromagnetic exposure.

You can keep yourself updated on Twitter with #knowyourexposure

Below is a summary of what some concerned parties say about radiation and exposure to children:

Governments

The United States government does not acknowledge known risk of using cellphones that have a specific absorption rate (SAR—the amount of radio frequency absorbed by the body) of 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) or less.

The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland rated the Apple iPhone 4 at 1.07 W/kg and the Samsung SGH-E330 at 1.17 W/kg. Nokia and Motorola phones tested lower, according to the report.

The European Parliament recommends that schools and classrooms “give preference to wired Internet connections, and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises.”

French law requires that all cellphones sold in the country have SAR clearly labeled as well as the recommendation that users limit cellphone exposure to their heads by using a headset. It also bans advertising cellphones to children under 14 years old and bans giving or selling any device specifically designed for children under 6 that emits radio frequency.

Israel has banned Wi-Fi in preschool and kindergarten classrooms and limited the Wi-Fi to an hour a day in first- to third-grade classrooms.

Belgium has banned the sale of mobile phones to children under 7.

Organizations

The World Health Organization reports that so far “no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use”; however, it also cautions that “the electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

High priority on the World Health Organization’s research agenda is developing a better understanding of the effects of radiation in utero and on young children.

The German Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents limit children’s use of mobile phones.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said that children “are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cellphone radiation,” in a letter last year urging the Federal Communications Commission to adopt radiation standards that protect children. The AAP also recommends no screen time for children under the age of 2.

Insurance Companies

In the past, Lloyds of London and Swiss Re, two major re-insurers, have both refused to cover cellphone companies for health-related lawsuits filed by cellphone users.

In 2010, Lloyds wrote that “EMF cases could be more complex than asbestos claims” and in its 2013 report on emerging risks, Swiss Re put the “unforeseen consequences of electromagnetic fields” in the highest impact category for 10 years down the road.


10 Ways to Reduce Your Wireless Exposure

BabySafeProject.org gives the following tips:

1. Avoid carrying your cellphone on your body (that is, in a pocket or bra).

2. Avoid holding any wireless device against your body when in use.

3. Use your cellphone on speaker setting or with an “air tube” headset.

4. Avoid using your wireless device in cars, trains, or elevators.

5. Avoid cordless phones, especially where you sleep.

6. Whenever possible, connect to the Internet with wired cables.

7. When using Wi-Fi, connect only to download, then disconnect.

8. Avoid prolonged or direct exposure to Wi-Fi routers.

9. Unplug your home Wi-Fi router when not in use (that is, at bedtime).

10. Sleep as far away from wireless utility meters (“smart” meters) as possible.

via Why You Should Reduce Cellphone Radiation Risk for Children and How You Can – The Epoch Times

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Mindfulness Training Helps Reduce Stress for Teachers

16 September, 2013 at 07:07 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, meditation, Society, Spirituality, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Rosemary Byfield
Epoch Times

How teachers cope with demands in the classroom may be made easier with the use of “mindfulness” techniques, according to new US research.

Learning to pay attention to the present in a focused and non-judgemental or mindful way on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course helped teachers in the study to feel less stressed and to avoid burnout.

Dr Richard Davidson, chair of the Centre for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States, is the study co-author. “The research indicated that simple forms of mindfulness training can help promote a certain type of emotional balance, leading to decreased stress,” he said in an interview on the Centre’s website.

“[Teachers] perceive greater ability to remain present in the classroom for their children and less likely to respond to children with anger,” Davidson said.

“[Teachers] perceive greater ability to remain present in the classroom for their children and less likely to respond to children with anger,” Davidson said.

Stress, burnout, and ill health are increasing burdens experienced by teachers in schools leading to absenteeism and prematurely leaving the profession.

“This is an area where mindfulness may be particularly important and interesting,” he said.

“We wanted to offer training to teachers in a format that would be engaging and address the concerns that were specifically relevant to their role as teachers,” said lead researcher Lisa Flook in a statement.

Researchers trained 18 teachers to use MBSR techniques designed to handle difficult physical sensations, feelings, and moods and develop empathy for pupils in challenging situations.

Randomly assigned teachers practised a guided meditation at home for at least 15 minutes per day and learned specific strategies for preventing and dealing with stressful factors in the classroom. These included “dropping in”, a process of bringing attention to breathing, thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations; and ways of bringing kindness into their experiences, particularly challenging ones.

Mindfulness originates from Buddhist meditation but was developed for secular use in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme at the University of Massachusetts in the United States.

“The most important outcome that we observed is the consistent pattern of results, across a range of self-report and objective measures used in this pilot study, that indicate benefits from practising mindfulness,” Flook said.

Study participant and teacher Elizabeth Miller found that mindfulness could be practised anywhere, and at any time.

“Breath awareness was just one part of the training, but it was something that I was able to consistently put into practice,” Miller said.

“Now I spend more time getting students to notice how they’re feeling, physically and emotionally, before reacting to something. I think this act of self-monitoring was the biggest long-term benefit for both students and teachers.”

In Britain, teachers Richard Burnett and Chris Cullen developed the Mindfulness in Schools project, “.b” or “Stop, Breathe and Be!” programme. After experiencing the benefits of mindfulness themselves they wanted to teach it in the classroom. Their course is now taught in 12 countries.

via Mindfulness Training Helps Reduce Stress for Teachers » The Epoch Times

Chinese ‘Birth Tourists’ Getting Attention From US Authorities

12 September, 2013 at 08:50 | Posted in Children, China, human rights, Society | Leave a comment
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By Leo Timm
Epoch Times

U.S. authorities are getting tough on pregnant Chinese women visiting the Northern Mariana Islands to give birth. In what is called “birth tourism,” prospective mothers can at once evade penalties imposed by the One Child Policy in China, and gain U.S. citizenship for their newborn.

Eloy Inos, governor of the Northern Marianas, told the Saipan Tribune that immigration agents had sent home about 20 “birth tourists” in the past three to four months because of “documentation problems.” In August, a pregnant tourist arrived on a charter flight from Shanghai one evening was sent back home early the next morning. Her tour leader Fenny He told the Tribune the woman ” refused to listen” when she advised her not to go.

The number of women delivering babies in the island chain, located between the Philippines and Hawaii, has seen a massive increase in the last two years, according to a Marianas Variety report. This is due to the constitutionally-protected clause granting citizenship to all those born on American soil. U.S. territory includes the Northern Mariana Islands, which were ceded by Japan following World War II.

Today, the territory is a tourist hotspot. In an exception to U.S. immigration laws intended to encourage tourism, Chinese citizens are permitted to visit Saipan and other islands in the Northern Marianas for up to 45 days without a visa. According to USA Today, the total number of Chinese arrivals in 2012 has already been surpassed by July of this year, and about 11,000 Chinese visited the islands in the month of July alone. It’s unclear how many of them are birth tourists.

Avoiding the penalties associated with violation of the One-Child Policy, which was introduced by the Chinese communist regime in 1979, appears to be a major motivation for birth tourism.

He Peihua, chief associate of Guangdong International Business Law Firm, told Chinese media Southern Metropolis Daily that if a Chinese family has their first child in China, and the second in the U.S, it does not constitute a violation of China’s family planning regulations.

According to the Southern Metropolis Daily’s report, one netizen under the name Great Mom wrote: “I’m planning to give birth to my baby in America. I did research from multiple sources to make sure I don’t break the rules. Giving birth in the United States is the best way.”

She added: “There are many centers run by Taiwanese in the United States. It takes two months to get ready for birth and one month after that. You can go back to China after three months.”

Another Internet user quoted in the report said she gave birth in the United States to avoid the one child policy – so her son wouldn’t be an only child.

Sohu, a Chinese Internet portal, lays out 10 reasons Chinese people might consider giving birth in the United States: American citizens are eligible for a retirement pension, for example, even if they never return to the United States, and they may be afforded greater opportunities to enter prestigious American universities.

Americans can visit over 180 countries visa-free, Sohu noted, whereas holders of a passport from the People’s Republic of China can only enter a handful of African and Southeast Asian countries visa free.

With research by Lu Chen.

via Chinese ‘Birth Tourists’ Getting Attention From US Authorities » The Epoch Times

Communist Party Intensifies Political and Ideological Study Among Young Teachers

5 June, 2013 at 18:38 | Posted in Children, China, Society | Leave a comment
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By Annie Wu

Theoretical legacy of former regime leader Jiang Zemin, the Three Represents, given a silent rebuff.

Communist Party Intensifies Political and Ideological Study Among Young Teachers » The Epoch TimesChina’s Ministry of Education on Monday published a directive on its website ordering local education agencies and Party organizations at universities across the country to strengthen the ideological and political education of young university instructors.

The circular, which carried the imprimatur of Party Central in Beijing, was aimed squarely at young people. It highlights the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) growing unease with their prolific use of the Internet, and facility in harnessing social media to expose the misdeeds of officials and join together for common causes.

The notice comes in the wake of an internal Party order to university administrators and professors known as the “7 Don’t Speaks,” which listed topics that were prohibited from being discussed in class, including issues like civil rights, civil society, and freedom of the press. The order was posted and widely circulated on China’s microblogging service, Sina Weibo, earlier this month.

“Both the seven taboos and the latest 16 advisories are new measures of stability maintenance the top leaders introduced because they are realizing there is an unprecedented political crisis, with the young generation being the most powerful threat that could topple the communist regime,” commentator Zhang Lifan told the South China Morning Post.

The recent educational directive, which listed 16 recommendations, noted that “strengthening and improving young teachers’ ideological and political thinking” is imperative because “young university instructors are close in age to their students, frequently interact with them, and have more direct influence on their thinking and actions.” It was jointly issued by the Organization Department of the Central Committee, the Ministry of Education, and the Propaganda Department on May 4, but was published online this Monday.

Constant reference was made in the notice to “improving political thought work” and “strengthening the study of political theory.” These are watchwords of communist doctrine that refer to inculcating strong adherence to and belief in Communist Party precepts, and loyalty to its rule.

These two recent directives targeting the youth population suggest the Chinese regime’s unease with their exposure and growing awareness of issues that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) disapproves of—given the youth’s prolific use of the Internet.

“Both the seven taboos and the latest 16 advisories are new measures of stability maintenance the top leaders introduced because they are realizing there is an unprecedented political crisis, with the young generation being the most powerful threat that could topple the communist regime,” commentator Zhang Lifan told the South China Morning Post.

Wen Zhao, a Canada-based analyst of Chinese affairs with NTD Television, told The Epoch Times that this move by the CCP is to demonstrate that the Party still asserts its control over public opinion. “First, this is a kind of declaration, that is, the Chinese Communist Party will not only stubbornly hold onto its control over expression and ideology, but will continually strengthen its control. This is displayed for the rest of society to see, but also to those elements within the Party who are not resolute and firm in their Party ideology and loyalty.”

However, Wen believes that while the CCP’s attitude is more aggressive as of late, the Party does not enjoy a corresponding increase in its ability to control and censor. “From the Southern Weekend incident earlier this year, to the Masanjia [Labor Camp] being exposed in April, this year has shown that the CCP’s ability to control expression and ideology has been constantly challenged and weakened.”

In the first incident, journalists and editors at the iconic newspaper went on strike after the provincial propaganda chief overstepped the boundaries of acceptable censorship; in the second, a lengthy investigative report was published about torture at one of the most notorious labor camps in China, which primarily targeted practitioners of Falun Gong—discussion of which remains political taboo.

Wen Zhao said that as the CCP faces more challenges, more frequently, it will feel the need to test its grip over public opinion with such orders.

The prevalence of such ideological rhetoric is also raising doubts over the ability of the regime’s new leader, Xi Jinping, to bring about true reform, despite his calls for rule of law and upholding the constitution since taking power last November. “In front of the public, Xi Jinping wants to portray an open-minded image, but to certain people within the party, he will display a conservative side… Since he took power, his primary task is actually to promote economic reform in order to ease societal tensions, while consolidating his power.”

Scholars noted that in the first of the 16 points, reference was made to Marxist and Leninist ideology, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping notion of “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” and former Party leader Hu Jintao’s “scientific development concept.” But no mention was made of previous regime leader Jiang Zemin’s trademark theoretical contribution to the communist canon, the enigmatic “Three Represents.”

Yu Maochun, a scholar of Chinese politics, strategy, and history at the U.S. Naval War College, said he was “very surprised” by the omission. “Jiang Zemin’s work style was flamboyant, undisciplined, and boastful,” he said, adding that Xi Jinping may be distancing himself from such traits by leaving Jiang’s theory off the list. Ding Li, a researcher with Chinascope, a news service that translates and analyses Communist Party propaganda, said it was “extremely weird.” He added: “If this is not a mistake, the missing of the mention of the ‘three represents’ is equivalent to saying that Jiang Zemin is no longer qualified to leave his legacy in the Party’s history.”

via Communist Party Intensifies Political and Ideological Study Among Young Teachers » The Epoch Times

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Lessons From Ancient Mothers: Healthy Habits Worth Teaching

2 June, 2013 at 07:21 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Food, Society | Leave a comment
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Lessons From Ancient Mothers: Healthy Habits Worth Teaching » The Epoch Times


By Tysan Lerner
Epoch Times

Thinking Shen Yun Performing Arts would be entertaining for my daughters, I bought tickets as soon as I heard about them. What I got from the performance was not only entertaining—it was enlightening. One historical story after another taught me about grace, kindness, and strength. That evening, I understood more about how to be a good woman than ever before.

Shen Yun is a performing arts company based in New York whose mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture. In honor of Mother’s Day, the Shen Yun website recounts stories of great mothers from Chinese history. The story of how the great philosopher Mencius came to be, and the role that his mother played, really stood out for me.

His father died when he was very young, and his mother was left to raise him. They lived near a cemetery and Mencius started imitating funeral processions. Noticing this, his mother moved them closer to the marketplace. But soon Mencius started speaking in the haggling way that merchants spoke. As a result, Mencius’ mother decided to move them again.

This time they moved next to a school, and Mencius started imitating scholars’ study habits. Pleased about this, Mencius’s mother did not move again, and Mencius grew up to become one of the greatest philosophers in Chinese history.

Just as Mencius’s mother gave him an environment to thrive in as a scholar, we can create the same kind of influence on our children when it comes to their health habits.

I’ve noticed that my children imitate me a lot. This is how they learned to speak, use body language, and react to things.

I had a lot of issues around my body image and my relationship to food, and I did not want to pass these notions on to my daughters. I have met many women who blame their poor eating habits (be it bingeing or starving) on their mothers.

I have more than one relative who suffers from an eating disorder, and I did not want my daughters to do the same. I needed to get clear about my food values so I could lead by example.

It became more important to me that I eat with ease, enjoyment, and respect for my health because that’s what I wanted to teach my daughters.

I stopped complaining about feeling fat or regretting my food choices if they weren’t optimal. It was surprisingly tough to do that. I had gotten into the habit of equating my body fat with my self-worth, and so I went through a bit of withdrawal from self-criticism.

Just as Mencius’s mother saw Mencius copying those around him, I saw my daughters copying me. I saw my clients’ daughters copying them, and I saw my friends’ daughters copying them. I wanted my daughters to learn confidence, healthy habits, and respect.

Helping Children Develop Healthy Habits

• Children love fun
Kids are fun-making machines. They love to explore with their hands and their mouths, so take advantage of this, and feed them foods they can interact with. For example, let them add their own sour cream and parsley to their black bean soup or place their own raisins on a celery stick with nut butter for an “ants on a log” treat.
I got my kids off the ice cream kick by letting them whip up really thick smoothies in the blender. They nicknamed these “smoothie ice cream.”

• Children are the best conscious eaters
Because most children approach things very simply, they have a lot of focus. I remember when my daughter had just learned how to tie her own shoelaces. She would breathe heavily as she carefully tied them. It took some serious focus.

Children pay a lot of attention to all of their various experiences. Have you ever seen a child get lost in a game? They aren’t just pretending, they are experiencing. With a little guidance, it is easy to teach them how to pay closer attention to what they are eating.

What does the texture of this food feel like? Is it smooth or rough in your mouth? Do the flavors change as you chew? How long can you chew before you swallow your food?

• Children love learning
Children are incredibly curious. They love to learn. Remember the endless “whys?” Take this curiosity by teaching them about food and health. The more you educate your children about what they are eating, the more they will choose healthy foods.

Get them excited about growing organic vegetables, and explain what happens to the earth’s soil when we use pesticides. Teach them about where dairy comes from, and how too much sugar will affect them.

Warning here: Keep it simple. If you get too technical, you risk your children getting bored, misunderstanding you, or getting scared of eating certain food for fear of illness or death. Keep it simple and light! They will make it fun.

• Children love variety
Notice how schools are often decorated with lots of colors, textures, and shapes. It keeps the children stimulated, interested, and engaged. With food, do the same. The more variety, the better. So build meals with a variety of colors, flavors, textures, and shapes.

When you follow these tips, your children will naturally learn to have a healthier relationship with food. It will become part of the way they live rather than an escape from life.

Give them enough guidance and boundaries with food to feel safe, yet enough freedom to explore, get interested, and be brave.

Mothers, we have a great role to play. Let’s be responsible to our children for better health and more confidence. Have a fabulous Mother’s Day!

Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is http://www.lavendermamas.com

via Lessons From Ancient Mothers: Healthy Habits Worth Teaching » The Epoch Times

Healthy Kids Need Time in Nature

23 March, 2013 at 15:07 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Nature, Society | Leave a comment
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By David Suzuki

Ontario’s Healthy Kids Panel recently proposed a strategy to help kids get onto a path to health.

The problem is that the path doesn’t lead them into nature. Though the report quotes parents’ comments and research showing kids spend dramatically less time outside than ever, it doesn’t encourage time in nature.

That said, many of the report’s recommendations should be implemented and supported locally, provincially and nationally to reduce the risks of obesity.

Encouraging parents and children to be more critical about dietary choices and requiring more information and labelling from restaurants and food producers is long overdue.

Ontario isn’t the only province working to reduce obesity rates and support parents raising healthy children, particularly in the early years. Alberta released relevant reports in 2011 and Quebec has had a ban on advertising junk food to children since 1980.

No one can argue against public awareness and education around the benefits of healthy eating and active living. But a provincial, patchwork approach to addressing these issues isn’t enough. We need a national strategy to get our kids eating healthy foods and being active in nature.

‘Make good things more accessible’

Although it seems logical that much of the time spent being active will take place outside, the Ontario report acknowledges that “many communities are not designed to encourage kids to move or be physically active…and have few safe green spaces.”

One parent in a focus group explains that the parks in his community are either gated or locked up once school is closed. So, even when there is green space, it’s not always accessible.

Last year, the David Suzuki Foundation conducted a survey with young Canadians and found that 70 percent spend an hour or less a day outdoors. The 2012 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card says they spend almost eight hours a day in front of screens.

So it’s not that kids don’t have time to be outside. It’s just not part of their lifestyle.

Much has been reported about a recommendation by the Ontario panel to ban junk food advertising that targets children under 12. This has worked in Quebec and is being discussed in Alberta.

But the approach has invited criticism from those who argue that people should have the right to choose.

We need a national strategy to get our kids eating healthy foods and being active in nature.

It’s always tempting to focus on making bad things less accessible, but perhaps policymakers should be more creative and focus on ways to make good things more accessible.

Being in nature is good for all of us. People who get outside regularly are less stressed, have more resilient immune systems and are generally happier.

And it’s good for our kids. Studies show spending time in nature or green spaces helps reduce the symptoms of ADHD.

Even in built playgrounds, kids spend twice as much time playing, use their imaginations more, and engage in more aerobic and strengthening activities when the space incorporates natural elements like logs, flowers, and small streams, according to research from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Bring Nature Back Into Our Lives

Despite all the obvious health benefits of spending time outside, provincial and federal governments are failing to integrate a daily dose of nature into their policies.

It’s also something we as a society are failing to make a priority in the lives of our children. This inexpensive and effective way to make our lives healthier and happier should be an obvious solution.

We need to make sure our neighbourhoods have green spaces where people can explore their connections with nature.

We need to make sure our neighbourhoods have green spaces where people can explore their connections with nature.

We need to ask teachers and school board representatives to take students outside so that nature becomes a classroom.

And we need to stop making the outdoors seem like a scary place for children by helping parents understand that the benefits of playing outside outweigh the risks.

It will take public education and awareness-building as well as changes to the way we build cities and live in our communities to bring nature back into our lives.

Connecting kids to nature every day needs to be a priority policy objective in any strategy for healthy children and could easily have been integrated into the recommendations from the Ontario Healthy Kids Panel.

Taking our kids by the hand and spending time outside with them will have the added benefit of making us healthier and happier adults.

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Communications Specialist Leanne Clare

via Healthy Kids Need Time in Nature | Viewpoints | Opinion | Epoch Times

A Chinese Mother’s Miracle Baby

4 March, 2013 at 17:28 | Posted in Children, China, human rights, persecution, Society | Leave a comment
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Pregnant woman induced labor to avoid forced abortion

By Jenny Liu
Epoch Times Staff

LOS ANGELES—Qiao Shunqin, a former elementary school teacher from Kaifeng, Henan Province, still recalls the cruel pressure she faced more than two decades ago. She was nine months pregnant and determined to save her baby the night before she was scheduled to have a forced abortion.

Her son now lives in the United States; he is 24 years old and 6 feet tall. He came here to study and later joined the U.S. military. His mother says he treats his parents with respect, perhaps because he knows his life did not come easily.

Qiao had a child from her first marriage, but when she divorced, the court gave her ex-husband custody of the child. Her second husband also had a child, but his ex-wife had been given custody.

According to the one-child policy at that time, because the couple did not have custody of their respective children, neither was considered to have exhausted their one-child allowance, so Qiao applied for a birth license. Only after it was approved by several different officials and offices, including her school principal, and the district Family Planning Office, did she prepare for a pregnancy.

In June 1988, after she had been married for two years and was over eight months pregnant, the school principal told Qiao that the new director of the district Family Planning Office, Sui Yajie, did not think she should be permitted to have a second child. She was therefore asked to have an abortion.

The family planning office, the school principal, and her boss took turns to visit and pressure her. For her to go against the family planning office would reflect negatively on the performance reviews from her boss and her school principal. “I just wept silently,” she said.

Ms. Qiao requested to have the abortion in Zhengzhou, where her parents and in-laws lived. On July 5, 1988, she went to the obstetrics department of the People’s Hospital of Henan Province under duress. The family planning director and school principal asked the doctor to abort the fetus immediately.

The doctor saw that Qiao was almost ready to give birth, and at age 38, was a mature woman with heart disease. To avoid complications, he insisted on first conducting a complete examination. By the time he finished, the out-patient division had closed for the day, and the abortion was rescheduled for 8 a.m. the next day.

Qiao returned to her in-laws’ home, arriving after 9 p.m. She knew the baby, kicking and moving inside her, would be killed the next morning. Nine years earlier she had been forced to have an abortion when she was seven months pregnant. That time, a toxic solution was injected into her uterus, and four hours later, she lost a baby girl. The horrific experience was still fresh in her mind.

She was determined to keep her child this time. She held her stomach as if holding the child in her hands, and began repeatedly hitting her back against the wall, but did not feel any change after about one hour, aside from perspiration and back pain.

She decided to change her approach, and placed newspaper on the concrete floor with blankets on top. Then she held her stomach, and began jumping down from the bed onto the floor. Every time she jumped, she held her breath and then climbed back up again. It grew more and more difficult, but she persisted. She prayed the child would be born soon, while worrying that too much movement would hurt the child. Her husband and mother-in-law looked on in horror, but did not dare stop her.

At about midnight, Qiao’s water broke–the baby was coming.

To avoid any issues, Qiao used a fake name, age, and work unit when registering at the hospital. Five hours later at 6 a.m., her son was born.

After the birth, the director of the family planning office blamed her for not telling them sooner, “If you had informed us, we could have given the baby a toxic injection and killed him, and you would not have to lose your job for violating the one-child policy.”

These chilling words brought deep fear to Qiao. “For several years after that, I had dreams that someone was chasing me and trying to kill me and my child. We ran and ran for our lives. In my dreams, I held my child tightly for fear he would be taken away,” she said.

Qiao was fired from her job, even though she was rated an excellent teacher and in the prime of life. Her husband’s salary was stopped for more than a year, and he was demoted from government official to factory worker. They therefore had to rely on assistance from their families.

For over 20 years, Qiao traveled to different appeals offices to try and get her job back. However, she did not receive a response and was repeatedly humiliated. An official from an office in Henan Province even told her to “just go jump off a building and drop dead!”

From childhood, Qiao had grown up in a Communist Party-controlled environment and had truly believed in the Party. She said, “Because of the one-child policy, I turned from an activist promoting the Party to a vehement opponent of the Party.”

Since being reunited with her son in the United States, Qiao has publicized statements severing all ties with the Chinese Communist Party, including the Communist Youth League and the Young Pioneers.

Translation by Li Zhen. Research by Jane Lin. Edited by Nicholas Zifcak and Cassie Ryan.

Read the original Chinese article.

via A Chinese Mother’s Miracle Baby | Democracy & Human Rights | China | Epoch Times

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Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is a Growing Threat

22 February, 2013 at 07:15 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Environmental issues, Science, Society | Leave a comment
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By MJ DeSousa

A recent study from India isn’t simply an alarm bell for anyone concerned about hearing health. It is tantamount to a fleet of wailing sirens in the night.

According to a study from a trio of educators in Maharashtra, India, noise-induced hearing loss is occurring at even younger ages than previously thought, and the primary causes are urban noises and the propensity for listening to media with the volume higher than the human ear can tolerate.

The study, published in the International Journal of Head and Neck Surgery in December, focused on 150 students from the Bharti Vidyapeeth Dental College.

The results showed that 75 percent of the students had been exposed to extreme noise pollution on a routine basis. Of those 75 percent of the students, 16 suffered noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

The findings are disturbing because the research gives further credence to what many of us in the hearing-health industry already know, which is that more and more people are facing hearing damage at younger and younger ages.

What the Indian researchers showed, however, is that NIHL is occurring because of non-industrial noise.

Some students in the study said they were exposed to loud noises at home, at school, and everywhere in between.

“So far risk of exposure to high noise level was considered to be limited to industrial environment only. However, with rapid urbanization and modernization, the cities are becoming crowded as well as noisy.

“Exposure to noise from these sources have put the population not exposed to industrial noise also at risk of NIHL, especially the younger population.

“If corrective measures are not taken this may lead to high percentage of younger urban population with permanent hearing loss,” says the study authored by Sunil Suresh Saler, Parul Sunil Saler, and Wilson Desai.

Some students in the study said they were exposed to loud noises at home, at school, and everywhere in between. Several of them told the researchers that they turned their iPods or video-game consoles up to the maximum volume level while wearing headphones.

Previous international studies have shown that use of portable stereos can lead to an increase in hearing damage.

Australia’s National Acoustic Laboratories discovered that one quarter of its survey respondents were in danger of hearing loss because of their use of iPods and other similar devices.

When we are young, we are more likely to take risks, and those risks can lead to health complications, as many people in their 30s and 40s are finding out when it comes to their ears.

Take Early Precautions

Hearing loss is a growing problem in the 21st century. Part of the issue has to do with technology we’ve adopted into our lives, but the more important threat is the increasing amount of noise we face because of situations that are often out of our control.

Construction noise, traffic disturbances, and loud urban atmospheres put stress on the ears of millions of people on a daily basis. Exposure to such noise is a health risk that is increasingly unavoidable and global.

“People generally lack knowledge of the ill effects which noise pollution creates. To avoid NIHL, attention must be given toward the noise around us,” the study from India said.

“Wear adequate hearing protection like foam ear muffs, ear plugs. There will be a definite hearing impairment due to noise pollution, which can be either permanent or temporary, if early precautions are not taken.”

The good news is that awareness helps. Once you recognize a health risk, you can always take steps to prevent or limit the damage.

That goes for anything from a toothache to blurry vision to a sudden ringing in your ears. All of those conditions can be treated, as long as you initiate the steps to address them.

MJ DeSousa, an audiologist and Director of Professional Practice at Connect Hearing, leads a team of hearing professionals across Canada. For more information about hearing loss please visit www.connecthearing.ca

via Why Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is a Growing Threat | Other Ways of Healing | Health | Epoch Times

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Has Technology Made Us Scared of Silence?

22 January, 2013 at 07:30 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, IT and Media, Society | 2 Comments
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By Bruce Fell
Charles Sturt University

When there is no noise in my room it scares me”, emails one of my undergraduate students. “It seems I can’t stand silence”, writes another.

The noise the first student is referring to is the background noise of television, radio and music, plus a multitude of social media and online curiosities. And the silence the second student refers to is a world devoid of such background noise.

Drawing on six years (2007-12) of observations from 580 undergraduate students, it can be reasonably argued that their need for noise and their struggle with silence is a learned behavior.

The desire for media-generated background noise is acquired more from parents and grandparents than from my students’ new-found relationship with social media.

To that extent, Larry D. Rosen’s excellent advice on how teachers can address student social media anxiety – such as by introducing one-minute technology breaks–shouldn’t be confused with issues surrounding the same students’ need for background noise.

With obvious exceptions, mum and dad also inherited this need for background noise: “My grandparents have the television on practically all the time in the background”, observes one student.

It is not surprising then when another writes, “the television was switched on by my parents earlier in the morning for the news and left on … even when no-one was watching”.

For all but one of the 580 students, television and radio was in the home prior to their birth. For most students, the family home also had at least one computer before they were born. Indeed, this year we had our first student that can’t remember her family’s first mobile phone.

Beginning at infancy, the constant media soundscape has provided the background noise either side of bassinet, kindergarten, school and university. It is little wonder many of my students feel agitated and ill-at-ease when there is not at least one portal providing background noise.

Such background noise speaks to Bill McKibben’s observations of the Third Parent.

More often than not, a student’s third parent (whether that be analogue or digital media) speaks to them more often than their biological parents. As one participant noted, “the noise of the TV and the communication on Facebook helps me feel more in touch with people”.

By and large my students report they can’t function in silence. As one explained, “I actually began doing this assignment in the library and had to return to my room minutes later to get my iPod as I found the library was so quiet that I couldn’t concentrate properly!”

It’s not just the silence of a library that students report as disturbing. Having gone home to the farm, one student observed how she found it hard to walk down to the dam without an iPod.

When the students were provided with the tools to reflect on their media consumption they began to recognize the nature of background noise. Having filled in their spreadsheets, they were asked to spend one hour walking, sitting and/or reading in a quiet place. This is the moment in the assignment when students tend to discover their relationship with silence:

“The lack of noise made me uncomfortable, it actually seemed foreboding”, observed one student. Another said “perhaps, because media consistently surrounds us today, we have a fear of peace and quiet”.

Could it be that it’s the background noise and not the discrete content of each media portal that creates the perception of well-being my students write about?

Either way, it’s clear that students (and doubtless many others) have become accustomed to the background noise that’s become such a feature of modern life.

So what about you: are you scared of silence?

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

via Has Technology Made Us Scared of Silence? | Inspiring Discoveries | Science | Epoch Times

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Almost One Third of Toys Contain Toxic Metals, Report

5 January, 2013 at 16:37 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Environmental issues, sustainable development | Leave a comment
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By Eugene Dovbush
Epoch Times Staff

KYIV, Ukraine—During the holiday season, parents should be more careful when selecting toys for their children, according to a recent investigation.

Last week a joint research project announced results showing 29 percent of tested toys contained toxic elements.

The research was conducted by ecological organizations in six Eastern European and Asian countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The test subjects were selected at random from toys available in those countries. Most of the toys originated from China.

A total of 569 toys were tested for six heavy metals: antimony, mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium and chrome. Researchers found toxic metals in 164 toys, or 29 percent.

The results showed that lead was the most common toxin, discovered in 18 percent of the tested toys. Thirteen percent of toys contained antimony, while eight percent contained arsenic and three percent contained mercury.

Nearly 80 percent of the selected toys originated from China. The other 20 percent of toys that contained toxic elements were found to be manufactured in Germany, Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic.

“The results let us make the conclusion that only 71 percent of toys are clean,” ecologist Olga Tsygulyova, who took part in the research, told The Epoch Times.

Tsygulyova says that toxic toys are harmful not only when children place them in their mouths or swallow them, but also when children touch them, as the surfaces of toys may contain toxic particles.

Parents should be attentive while choosing toys, and avoid buying products with very bright colors or strong odors, advises Tsygulyova.

Tsygulyova also points out that unsafe toys are harmful not only to children’s health, but also to the environment when they are thrown out as waste. In this case toys can cause environmental damage by releasing toxic metals that gradually penetrate into soil and groundwater. This problem is especially serious in countries without developed waste sorting and recycling systems, such as Ukraine.

Ecologists advise parents to check if toys have quality marks before purchasing. Marks to look for include the ISO 9000 quality assurance system, the ISO 14000 environmental management system, or the “CE” marking for products made in the EU. Other quality assurance marks may vary from country to country.

Parents may also ask retailers to show accompanying documents for toys, such as quality certificates. Under the law in many countries, consumers have the right to request information about products.

Retailers are also required to give certain quality guarantees. Oleksiy Shumilo, director of Ukrainian ecological organization EcoRight-Kharkiv, says that consumers contribute to the manufacture of poor products when they buy toys at unregulated places.

“For example, when we come out of a metro station and see somebody selling toys and we don’t have time to go to a shop… If we buy in such places, without checking, then we are being irresponsible to our children,” he said.

However, according to Zoryana Mischuk, director of Ukrainian ecological organization MAMA-86, low quality toys were found even in specialized stores.

“You can find unsafe toys in large trading networks as well. Be careful,” warned Mishchuk.

via Almost One Third of Toys Contain Toxic Metals, Report | International | World | Epoch Times

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Children and their values ​​are our future – what are we giving further?

22 December, 2012 at 11:25 | Posted in Children, Culture, Society, thoughts of the day | Leave a comment
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Actually, thought about this today. That it’s important …

Have often thought about that it’s important to give children a good foundation, a history lesson and a cultural background to stand upon that tells them about different enlightened persons who have come to earth through the ages, to guide people on how to be a good person. A good human being is the message that they have had. A person with high morals and who is thinking of others first, a person that is compassionate, merciful and good.

So play some beautiful traditional Christmas music for the kids at Christmas, talk about the birth and life of Jesus and hold a nice, harmonious and somewhat solemn atmosphere in the home for them to remember later in life :-)

Italian Team Uses the Kinect to Treat Autistic Children

20 December, 2012 at 07:05 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, Technology | Leave a comment
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Physical therapy moves to the cloud under the Fifth Element project

By Andrea Lorini
Epoch Times Staff

The ambitious Fifth Element project aims to support the more than 60 million people who suffer from autism by using none other than the Microsoft Kinect, originally designed for video games on the Xbox 360.

The Fifth Element project is being led by Italian Ingenium, a four-man team with a passion for technology. Their project is already being used in rehabilitation centers, and is poised to spread across the globe in the next several months.

Kinect is a player-recognition system. Resembling a large webcam, the Kinect is placed on top of a television set and detects a player’s movements, which can then be used as commands for a video game. Yet, thanks to Web-based remote assistance services, even those who cannot physically access a rehabilitation center can learn and undergo therapy using Kinect.

“It’s a simple idea, and we can immediately see its potential impact on people,” said Matteo Valoriani, a 26-year-old student at Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan), and a creator of the Fifth Element project.

Matteo came up with the idea in December 2011 during a friendly chat with a friend who works in physical therapy. The friend told him how difficult it was for rehabilitation centers to meet with autistic children in need.

Specialized technology for similar purposes is very expensive. Yet, with Fifth Element, all that’s needed is a television, an Xbox 360, and a Kinect. The program itself is also simple, creating an interactive platform with standard images, voice, and text.

Each game and activity is developed with a specific therapy in mind.

Every game can be directly customized by the therapist to use different features and different levels of difficulty. The therapist can also change settings for the game remotely while interacting with the child over the Internet and from anywhere in the world.

After a session is completed, it can be saved so that parents can reuse it with their child on their own time.

“We are working to allow the child to see the therapist on screen real time, and they can interact on the screen thanks to the Kinect,” said Valoriani.

The Fifth Element project won the July Health Awareness Award during the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012, out of 350 students from more than 200 countries. Willing the first prize at the competition in Australia helped the team get global attention for the new concept.

Connecting with the Kinect

The Fifth Element also gives autistic children the opportunity to connect with other autistic children—children who are often isolated from others. Controlling the game is also simple, since it’s based on actual movements. “It doesn’t seem like you are having control of an object,” Valoriani said. “It seems like you are the object.”

The game creates virtual characters that children can recognize as their digital avatars, and they can use the avatars to develop relationships with other children. “In some cases, it happens that the child teaches another child how to play,” said Valoriani, who is noticeably pleased with the results.

While the system is built to allow interaction regardless of distance, it can also be used by two children in the same room, or at a rehabilitation center under the supervision of the therapist.

Parents also have a level of control. They can update the statistics on the child’s progress, which the therapist can use as notes for the next treatment. The data is saved for other doctors who may do therapy for the child.

At the center of Benedetta d’Intino of Milan and the association Astrolabio, doctors have welcomed the experiments and have helped refine the system through feedback. Much of this refinement is used to improve interactive activities and to quickly develop new games.

The system’s custom platform, Azure, gets better every week, and its uses are already being considered for uses in other fields—including in education.

Valoriani says the name, Fifth Element, is based on the ancient theory of the five elements that constitute the world.

“We happen to live in a world where we have more technology than we need,” said Valoriani. “In the past, research was done until there was a realization that a project could move no further due to technological boundaries. Today it is totally different—we have the technology, but we don’t know how to use it.”

via Italian Team Uses the Kinect to Treat Autistic Children | Innovation | Technology | Epoch Times

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Chinese Doctor Persecuted Under the One-Child Policy

30 November, 2012 at 07:19 | Posted in Children, China, human rights, persecution, Society | 1 Comment
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By Li Fang
Adapted from China Human Rights Biweekly

I first met obstetrics doctor Tang Hongrong in a Bangkok Refugee Center. The second time I saw her was at a gathering to condemn China’s one-child policy. I learned about her story when she started talking about her daughter.

Tang graduated from Hengyang Medical School in Hunan Province and started working at the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Gangkou Township Hospital in Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province. None of the other four obstetrics doctors working with her at that hospital had a medical degree. They had all bought the doctors’ positions in the hospital. Later, Tang found out that this phenomenon is common in hospitals in Zhongshan.

Out of jealousy, these amateur doctors tried to ostracize Tang and make life difficult for her. They made up rumors accusing her of illegally helping patients deliver their second or third babies, thus sabotaging the one-child policy.

‘Birth Planning Prison’

Between May 1995 and December 1996, Tang was twice taken by the Birth Planning Office and thrown into Birth Planning Prison. She was jailed there for a month the second time. She had never heard of “Birth Planning Prison” before.

Tang said, “The prison is located in the back of the public security bureau’s building. It’s a big yard, separated in the middle. One side is for criminals; the other side is for ‘birth planning offenders’. There are dozens of men and women on this side, including children. A man named Li Zhuoqiu had two daughters with him; one was four or five years old, the other only two years old. They had been jailed for more than half a year. He told me that only when they caught his wife and had her sterilized and his family paid off the fine for having more than one child, can he be released. They also had to pay for all the meals they had in the prison! The fine is as high as tens of thousands yuan. His family was very poor; how could they afford it?

“The youngest prisoner in the birth planning prison was only one year old. Her mom left home to hide while pregnant with her. After giving birth to her, one day when she came home, the birth planning team ambushed her and took her here. I think the little girl was probably the youngest prisoner in the world,” Tang says.

Tang denied the charge of illegally delivering babies and protested strongly. Handcuffs and shackles were put on her wrists and ankles and she was tied up like a ball. The shackles cut her knees and ankles and left scars that are still visible today.

Back then, Tang’s daughter was only 3 years old. Tang’s husband was so worried. He went to see the mayor on “Mayor Open House Day.” The mayor replied to him, “You said your wife was taken and beaten. Is there any proof, such as medical reports, photos?” It was a excuse, but Tang’s husband, an engineer, took the suggestion seriously. He hid a camera in some clothes and gave them to Tang during a prison visit. She took some photos of her wounds and of her fellow prisoners.

When her husband tried to take the camera back during the next visit, prison guards found it. However, they didn’t take the film out of the camera. Therefore, Tang’s husband was able to keep the photos of the birth planning prison. The head of the prison was furious about it. People broke into Tang’s home and searched several times, but couldn’t find the photos. Then, they took Tang’s husband to the prison, beat and tortured him, and detained him for two days. In the end, Tang’s family paid a sum of money to get him out. Her mother passed out because of shock, and her daughter was crying terribly.

The Persecution Continues

After Tang was released, the police often arrested her and took her to the local police station for no reason. Tang also lost her position in the hospital. She got it back after she went to Beijing and appealed to the Ministry of Health.

In 1998, a pregnant woman from Jiangxi Province surnamed Yu asked Tang to help her deliver a baby. The woman was eight months into her pregnancy, and Tang could not say no. “A few years ago, they framed me for delivering babies in private, which I did not. I did it this time, the only time in my life,” Tang said.

For this, the police arrested Tang and she was sentenced to two years in prison. When she was taken to Shaoguan Prison, her daughter was only five years old, and Tang had to send her to the countryside to have the little girl’s grandmother take care of her.

Tang was released in 2000. She wanted to publish the pictures taken in the “birth control prisons” and let people all over the world know how evil birth control was in China. She would not dare to do so in China, so she planned to flee the country to release the pictures.

In July 2010, she managed to get passports and visas and took her 17-year-old daughter to Bangkok. They applied for asylum at the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). In two months their application was denied. They were shocked, because most people wait for at least a year to hear from the UN Refugee Agency.

The two submitted their refugee application again. On April 18, 2012, Tang’s daughter Zhuzhu went out grocery shopping and did not return. Tang looked for her all night and posted search notices all over the area. In the evening of April 22, a police officer told her that her daughter was at the UN Refugee Agency. She went to the Agency and an official told her, “Your daughter is mentally ill and was sent to a mental hospital for compulsory treatment. You are mentally ill too.”

Tang could not understand why her daughter was fine on April 18 and became mentally ill four days later. She demanded that the Agency stop the treatment and return her daughter. Nothing happened.

Tang was grief-stricken and nearly collapsed. She was not even allowed to know the name of the hospital where her daughter was being kept. At the same time, she received the second notice of refusal from the Refugee Agency. Her husband went to Bangkok from China to meet with her. On May 4, the couple picked up their daughter from Ramathibodi Hospital. She looked purple, was severely swollen and was drooling because of the nerve-affecting drugs. After a week’s care at home, she regained consciousness and could talk again.

Zhuzhu said that while she was at the hospital, an official from the Refugee Agency and another woman urged her many times to go back to China. Zhuzhu was afraid of the Chinese regime, and she did not agree.

Now the mother and daughter are stranded in Bangkok. They have no income and are surviving on their meager savings from before. They want to apply for asylum again, hoping to be able to live in a safe place free of fear.

Read the original Chinese article.

via Chinese Doctor Persecuted Under the One-Child Policy | Thinking About China | Opinion | Epoch Times

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