Chinese city bans schools' palm-reading test
January 31st, 2012
02:14 PM ET

Chinese city bans schools' palm-reading test

Education officials in a northern China city have banned schools from offering palm-reading tests that were purported to predict kids’ intelligence and potential, state-run news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday.

The ban in Taiyuan comes after a previous Xinhau report that privately run kindergartens in that city’s province, Shanxi, were charging parents about $190 (1,200 yuan) for the opportunity to have their kids' palms read.

The company that designed the test, Shanxi Daomeng Culture Communication Co., claimed the palm reading could help determine a child’s innate intelligence and identify kids’ aptitudes in subjects such as math and music, and was applicable to children older than 3 months of age, according to Xinhua.

But Taiyuan education officials have “issued a circular to criticize the three kindergartens” that offered the tests, and have launched an investigation into whether the schools were ripped off by the company, the city’s education bureau chief, Ma Zhaoxing, told Xinhua.

Some parents in Taiyuan had complained about the cost and expressed doubts about the tests' reliability, the news agency reported.

Lea Walker, founder and director of the U.S. Chinese Culture Center in Columbia, South Carolina, told CNN that she understood why some Chinese parents might be interested in the palm-reading tests. She taught early childhood education at Wuhan University in Hubai province before immigrating to the United States in 1991.

"It may seem different to another culture, but there's a real and very deep desire in Chinese culture to have an idea of how your child will perform when they are still very young,” said Walker, whose nonprofit center is sanctioned by the Chinese government to host workshops and teach English in China. “There's great emphasis placed (on) whether they will be good at sports or good at music, academics, whatever you need to know to get them started in specific classes geared toward those disciplines. This is just part of many traditions.”

When children have their first birthdays, she said, some parents will have them crawl toward some items placed in their path.

"If they pick up a pen, they'll be a great writer some time, for example," she said. "This is just an expression of nurturing your child. Not many people believe it's scientific, or that palm reading is scientific."

Walker said she suspects the tests also might have been appealing because of China's one-child policy that limits Chinese parents to a single child.

"If you have one child, you really want them to succeed," Walker said. "You're going to (do) anything you can to make sure of that."

But Walker said she thinks the Taiyuan government’s ban on the palm-reading tests is a move in "the right direction.”

“I think the palm reading for young children might be misleading and might hinder the children’s future development,” she said.

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Filed under: China • Education
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Deity

    I can tell you how smart you'll be, did you pay $190 for this test? you're a moron

    January 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wicket

      People take the sick to faith healers in western countries...not much different, but far more dangerous as an only source. These people are trusting someone claiming to be in touch with a greater spiritual force and have inner knowledge, too.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO ©

    They should have predicted this.

    January 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Ah, Bombo, you never cease to make me laugh!

      January 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Neil Cassidy

    Typical of Chinese always spinning China in a positive way with an explanation that doesn't hit the ugly core of the issue. So what if Chinese want their kids to succeed? Most parents everywhere do. The problem is that they rely on ignorant hocus-pocus to prematurely determine something so important. I lived in China for 5 years, and believe me, many, if not most, people make important decisions based on nonsense like this.

    January 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jj

    Lol lol lol! ThOse two comments are hilarious!!!!

    January 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. arthur uzo

    China have drag another feet out of the 20th century. Well done.

    January 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GoodGuyGary

    What is the difference between palm-reading test offered in Chinese schools and Gifted &Talented Program offered in American schools?

    January 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      A bunch of PhD consultants who got paid 6-figures each were involved in that and other Western programs, which automatically makes them more valid.

      January 31, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Will

      The gifted program in my elementary school challenged me to work harder and at a higher level than I normally would have. When the gifted program 'went away', I became bored with work I could do easily, started faking it and became a borderline delinquient. Gifted programs, before they were gutted by Republican administrations and congresses, were a boon to our education system.

      But seriously, these regulations against small business job creators are strangling the chinese economy. They need to let the Free Market do its work.

      January 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. buck chicken

    I dont believe in Palm reading. However, I do believe in freedom in making choices that are not harmful to yourself or others. Palm reading is harmless.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Data1000

      While perhaps harmless in the US, I politely disagree that palm reading is harmless in China. More importantly, palm reading is still available to those who want to take part. The only change is that this expensive and worthless practice will no longer be available at public schools. This decision is sensible.

      January 31, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rollo

      You're a Buckin' moron...

      January 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Barry G.

    We shouldn't be so hard on China. There are many well educated people in developed countries who still read their horoscopes and believe that the apparent relative positions of the stars and planets have a bearing on their lives and their destinies.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eric

    It certainly is an intellegence test, but the subject of it isn't the child. The only way to pass is not to waste your money on it.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. d

    I thought their palms were already red.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. saywhat

    Tarot card readers & such here & in other Western countries should take a cue, there is still a window of opportunity open.
    'Seriously' though it would be a good idea in these tough economic times for parents to get the fate of their offsprings read before shelling out or borrowing money needed elsewhere, for a college education.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Guest

    "Some parents in Taiyuan... expressed doubts about the tests' reliability" – We have a winner for the 2012 Captain Obvious Awards, it goes to the proud parents group from Taiyuan.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Guest

    Demonizing China is one of our national priorities, especially to make our people feel better after borrowed a hefty amount of debts from China. Palm reading is stupid, that is same level of intelligence in shanghai 5-star hotels playing US movie Deliverence 10 times a day, 365 days year.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shawn

    What is China going to do when it has a massive elderly population, and a comparatively tiny younger population working? There is going to be a huge gap in elderly care. Either the younger generations are going to be taxed into recession, or the elderly population is going to be poverty stricken and forgotten.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • grease my palm

      Increase in productivity. Means: fewer people working, more stuff produced.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. SherwoodOR

    Lea Walker, founder and director of the U.S. Chinese Culture Center in Columbia, South Carolina, told CNN... "It may seem different to another culture, but there's a real and very deep desire in Chinese culture to have an idea of how your child will perform when they are still very young,... There's great emphasis placed (on) whether they will be good at sports or good at music, academics, whatever you need to know to get them started in specific classes geared toward those disciplines. This is just part of many traditions.”

    Sports, music, academics... China does not have, in recent times, a tradition of excellence in any of these fields. Maybe clinging to these outdated traditions about infant palmistry which have, apparently, in recent generations, not been producing the best results is not a good idea.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      This is not true. There are MANY great Chinese academics, musicians and athletes.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
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