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SCHOOL CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

Video clips: China

Chinese boys caned

With comments by C. Farrell



Eight video clips showing Chinese school students being caned in the classroom.


Clip 1 of 8 -- Mass punishment of boys

Corporal punishment in mainland China was theoretically abolished in 1949 after the communist revolution. It has long been known that, despite this, school students are physically punished on a casual or irregular basis. Remarkably, however, this clip shows that in some Chinese schools there is "proper" CP, i.e. of a much more structured and formal sort, almost in the tradition of Europe or the English-speaking world.

Five male students get four strokes of the cane each in the classroom of a mixed-sex secondary school.

Allegedly, the boys were caught playing basketball when they were supposed to be in class. This might explain why two of the boys are shirtless, since boys sometimes take their tops off when playing impromptu games in warm weather.

The punishment is delivered to the seat of each boy's trousers as he adopts an "on all fours" posture. This modus operandi is so typical of South Korea, and so relatively little seen elsewhere, that I would have said that was where this clip came from, but for the facts that the captions appear to be in Chinese (can somebody please tell me what they say?) and that the clip has appeared on several China-based websites but not, as far as is known, on any Korean ones.

This does not appear to be a terribly serious punishment. There is some giggling going on in the class, the schoolmaster is smiling at one point, and the strokes are not especially hard. Nevertheless, the boys are seen to be holding their bottoms afterwards.

The schoolmaster lifts up the shirt-tails of the boys who are wearing shirts in order to reduce the number of layers of clothing over the target area.

The stick is more rigid and brittle than a British or Singaporean rattan cane. Indeed, if you look carefully you can see that part of it breaks off and falls to the floor during the caning of the third boy, but the schoolmaster carries on regardless.

Unfortunately somebody has dubbed a silly music track on to this clip; there is nothing I can do about that, or the fact that the soundtrack is very slightly out of sync.

HERE IS THE CLIP:


Clip 2 of 8 -- Army cadet school

The boys in this class are in army uniform, so perhaps they are part of the school cadet force, or maybe it is a military school. One boy is seen bending over for a formal stroke of the cane, probably the last of several.

HERE IS THE CLIP:


Clip 3 of 8 -- Lady teacher canes senior boy

This 35-second clip shows a much more jocular scene, although the young teacher may not have meant it to be. She is doing her best to punish the boy but he makes a joke out of the whole thing and the class laughs along. All told he gets six rather feeble whacks on his backside with a thick stick or metre rule. She needs to work on her caning technique.

HERE IS THE CLIP:


Clip 4 of 8 -- Mass bare-bottom paddling

This 3-minute clip is said to have been taken at a technical school in Beijing in 2009. About 20 teenage boys come forward in turn, bend over and lower their trousers just enough to expose the target area, and receive either one or two token whacks on the bare backside. Perhaps this is more of a fraternity-style initiation ceremony than a punishment: certainly the whacks seem very light, and the atmosphere is rather jocular. The teacher, if he is a teacher, is laughing and joking, and the class of boys keep laughing. One or two recipients can be seen to be clutching their buttocks after being paddled, though possibly only as a joke. In the West (when CP was still allowed, or where it still is) and for that matter in Singapore and Malaysia, bare-bottom punishment would clearly in modern times be regarded as unacceptable in any school setting, but we must remember that different places have very different cultural assumptions. It might be for instance (I am only speculating here) that dropping your pants is less embarrassing in China than the loss of face you risk by not doing so, when all of your peers are doing it. Context is all, and we can only guess at the wider context of this clip.

HERE IS THE CLIP:


Clip 5 of 8 -- Boys punished by female teacher

School students are summoned to the front of the class to be punished by a lady teacher. She uses a short stick or ruler with which she repeatedly whacks the bending boys' bottoms -- to no great effect, it would appear: the implement clearly is not up to the task. At one point we have to wait for an announcement on the school's public address system to finish before the punishments continue. This looks like "going through the motions".

HERE IS THE CLIP:


Clip 6 of 8 -- Rapid-fire paddling

A 2-minute clip in which four secondary boys take turns to kneel on a bench and bend forward for a paddling in front of the class. The atmosphere is light-hearted. The teacher has a curious rapid-fire technique. In each case he lifts up the back of the boy's T-shirt if necessary, and gives about a dozen very quick whacks across the seat of the pants. The third boy betrays pain on his face both during his spanking and as walks back to his seat.

HERE IS THE CLIP:


Clip 7 of 8 -- Punishment at front of class

In this 30-second clip, four secondary boys have been summoned to the front of the class for punishment by their shouty male teacher. This time the atmosphere is deadly serious. Each student gets one hard whack; the picture quality is not good and the view is rather distant, so it is not possible to say exactly what is the implement being used, but it sounds rather like a hefty paddle. The clip comes to end just as the fourth boy is being paddled.

HERE IS THE CLIP:


Clip 8 of 8 -- Girls and boys rulered on hands in class

Just to show that not all CP in China is administered to the posterior (though most of it seems to be), here is a two-minute discontinuous film of a young lady teacher in a secondary classroom rulering several boys, and a couple of girls, on the palms of the hands, a practice of which many may disapprove because it is dangerous to the fingers. She is reading from a list and one gets the impression that this punishment is for unsatisfactory test scores rather than bad behaviour. The atmosphere is serious but routine and matter-of-fact. The other students are taking no notice at all.

HERE IS THE CLIP:




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