China’s schoolchildren learn how to buy and sell stock

February 16, 2011

On December 9, 2010, a CNN Go Asia headline said, “Shanghai has the world’s smartest teens”.

If you heard the news of Shanghai students beating out 65 countries in student scholastic performance tests in three key categories of ability, the Al Jazeera English video embedded with this post may provide part of the answer of how that happened.

While many American students are applying makeup, drinking sodas, eating candy and french fries in class while texting friends and ignoring teachers let alone reading or doing homework, Al Jazeera reports of twelve year olds in Shenyang, China learning how to be stock brokers.

These students buy and sell and learn how to get the latest information on global stocks.

One Student, Ding Chuan, was asked how his investment portfolio (a class assignment where the students don’t actually buy stocks) was doing, and he replied that last year his investments hit 10,000. Now, his portfolio is at 20,000. He wants to be a millionaire when he grows up.


This Al Jazeera English news segment aired June 23, 2007.

Xiu Shu Jun, the headmistress for the school, says, “We decided to do it because we wanted to give the children a more realistic and practical financial education.”

Tony Cheng, the Al Jazeera reporter, says, “It is ironic that the largest Communist nation in the world has become obsessed with this capitalist pastime.”

Cheng says, “Stock trading goes against about every principal Chairman Mao stood for, and he would be pretty horrified to learn that there are now more registered (stock) traders in China than there are members of the Communist Party.”

Mao’s statue in Shenyang is surrounded by banks. After all, Tony Cheng says, today to be rich in China is glorious.

I say, What Tony Cheng doesn’t tell us is when Deng Xiaoping came to power by arresting those that would have continued the Cultural Revolution, China’s central government repudiated revolutionary Maoism and launched a Chinese style of socialist-capitalism.

Meanwhile, outside school, China’s citizens are buying stocks hoping to get rich quick.

However, some Chinese are learning the hard way that what goes up also goes down.  Investing in a capitalist stock market is like riding a roller coaster and life savings may vanish in a day if the investor isn’t cautious.

Discover China’s PISA Pride

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

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China’s Capitalist Revolution (Part 1 of 9)

June 30, 2010

When Chairman Mao died in 1976, he left China in chaos due to the Cultural Revolution. Under Mao, who led the revolution and built the People’s Republic, millions had starved and died (due to poor decisions, droughts, floods, crop losses and a complete embargo by the United States). Deng Xiaoping, who overturned Maoism and taught the Chinese to love capitalism, succeeded him but not without a struggle.

Today, China has transformed the lives of many of its citizens and is challenging the world.  This BBC series is the story of how Communist China learned to love capitalism.  It is also the story of Deng Xiaoping—a survivor often punished by Mao, who refused to quit.

Unfortunately, for all the success Deng had in transforming China into a modern nation, his reputation was stained by what happened during the Tiananmen Square incident. During the demonstrations, Deng, who had been a military man most of his life, was faced with a choice between his modernizing instincts and his commitment to national stability to the party he had served for seventy years since 16.

By bringing wealth and stability to China, Deng defied those who said capitalism could not succeed without Western style politics.  He often said, “Our system has its advantages. We can make decisions quickly.”

If you enjoyed this, see The Roots of Madness or go to Part 2 of China’s Capitalist Revolution.

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 Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.