Chinese parents unhappy on students given Obama speech script

Some parents of the more than 3,000 students of a Hefei middle school were displeased that their children were given the script of a lecture by US President Barack Obama, Xin'an Evening News reported on Sept 5.

Obama gave the lecture in September 2009 to students in Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia, encouraging them to assume the responsibility to learn and develop their talents.

Sun Yeqing, vice-principal of the school in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, said he decided to distribute the script to the students at the opening of their third day of the semester because the speech is inspirational.

"His speech is specific and lively, and he told stories of individuals and his family. It's not empty. I think it's very easy for children to take in," he said.

Students said the lecture helped them realise the importance of education.

However, some parents said they worried that reading the script of an Obama speech instead of Chinese classics could adversely affect their children's cultural orientation.

Wang Tiangen, a professor with Anhui University, suggested the middle school could also provide students with Chinese classics such as The Analects, which contains Confucius' words on learning.