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Reports on the status of children in China published in English for the first time

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

URI professors foster relationship to publish vital reports in English

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 26, 2004 -- Little is known by researchers and others in the United States about the well being, attitudes, ambitions, lifestyles and concerns of the 300 million children in China. Limited access to research, combined with the inherent language barrier, has kept these conditions poorly understood. Until now.

A special issue of the Journal of Family and Economic Issues features results of five reports by the China Youth and Children Research Center in Beijing on the status of children in China -- all translated into English for the first time. The reports provide a clear look into the physical, social, and economic lives of these children.

According to University of Rhode Island Human Development and Family Studies Professor and Department Chair Barbara Newman there is a new openness to ideas in China based on recent socio-political changes.

"These reports provide insight into the range of behaviors, attitudes and values that the Chinese use as indicators of children’s well being. This extensive research and its publication is an important basis for cross-cultural dialogue and comparison through which we all have much to learn," said Newman who was asked to contribute an introduction to the Winter 2003 publication as a guest co-editor with Mr. Sun, deputy director-general of the China Youth and Children Research Center.

The Journal's editor, URI Human Development Professor Jing J. Xiao, collaborated with Sun Yunxiao and others on his staff to publish the results of the Center’s work in English.

"As researchers and teachers involved in human development, this work breaks down the barriers to communication. At URI, Dr. Jing Jian Xiao's dedication to forging this relationship has opened many doors for international exchange of students and faculty throughout the country," Newman added.

The publication summarizes the results of a number of national studies conducted in China through the 1990s. The reports include The Current Status of Chinese Children, Physical and Mental Health of Contemporary Chinese Children, Spare-time Life of Chinese Children, Consumption Patterns, and Perspectives on Children’s Changing Social Relationships.
These reports touch upon issues that directly affect children. A few of these topics are the progress in promoting well being and the impact of economic reform on children and families; the measure of children’s physical health and the impact of social change on children’s lives; the preference and amount of time for leisure activities; the nature of the family’s consumption and its effect on family resources; and the relations of children with parents and teachers, and the bi-directional avenue of learning from these relations.

URI Human Development and Family Studies Professor Karen McCurdy and University of Georgia Professor Kevin Bush provide commentaries on two of the reports.

Published quarterly by Kluwer Academic/Human Sciences Press, the peer-reviewed Journal of Family and Economic Issues, (formerly Lifestyles: Family and Economic Issues) is devoted to the interface of the family and its economic environment. It brings together work from a variety of disciplines to enhance understanding of family economic behavior, management, household division of labor, work-family life relationship, and other related topics.

Abstracts of these reports can be found at the journal’s website: http://www.kluweronline.com/issn/1058-0476. For more information about the Journal of Family and Economic Issues’ special issue on Chinese children, please contact the editor: Dr. Jing Jian Xiao at 401-874-4036 or xiao@uri.edu.