Judging from these group interviews conducted by the author in 1979 and 1984, children in the People's Republic of China exhibit buoyant spirits, stubbornness, a penchant for pranks, curiositymuch like kids everywhere. The young interviewees also seem articulate, disciplined, sensitive and take learning very seriously. Ann-ping Chin, a Chinese-American who teaches religion at Wesleyan, frames the interview transcripts with an introductory essay discussing Confucian concepts of family, duty and self, and in a closing chapter profiles her subjects, who range in age from seven to late teens. There are many illuminating moments. A boy, Fang Kan, 16, notes that ``feudal ideas are still going strong'' and bemoans the godlike heroes in Chinese novels. ``We never disagree with our teachers,'' reports a 15-year-old girl. In one section, a group of students debates the Cultural Revolution with a degree of sophistication and independent-mindedness one would expect of adults. (September)
Out of her conversations with 130 mostly urban school children, scholar and teacher Chin (religion, Wesleyan) has woven a colorful tapestry showing what it is like to grow up in China today. The interviews, dating from 1979 and 1984, occurred mostly at schools, with groups ranging from six-year-olds to those in their late teens. In exploring their attitudes toward learning, relations with parents and other family members, and favorite stories and pets, Chin has sought to capture not only their words but their spirit; she also melds their view of self as related to various institutions and presents cultural expectations. A major contribution to empirical child study and Chinese studies. Elizabeth A. Teo, Moraine Valley Community Coll. Lib., Palos Hills, Ill.