A home video showing a four-year-old Chinese boy being forced by his parents to run almost naked through the snow in bitterly cold New York has sparked uproar. In the video, the little boy runs towards his father, who is filming him, in thick snow with only his shoes and underpants on, at times crying bitterly and pleading with his dad to take him in his arms. On several occasions, both parents tell their son to lie down in the snow, which he does eventually when his mother presses him.
The film was posted online by the boy's father, who comes from the eastern city of Nanjing.The father was trying to train his son to be strong, his personal assistant said.But the footage has sparked debate about the tough parenting style for which China became known after Amy Chua's controversial book "Tiger Mother". The father, surnamed He, has been given the nickname of "Eagle Dad" in reference to Chua, who sparked controversy when she wrote a book extolling the benefits of tough parenting.
His personal assistant, surnamed Xin, said he was on holiday with his family in New York during the Lunar New Year holiday last month, and decided to see in the Year of the Dragon with this unusual method. "The child agreed and before the run, he did half an hour of slow running to warm up," she said. "This child has received all sorts of forms of training since he was small. When he was one, he started swimming in water that was 21C."
Xin said that the boy was born prematurely with several health problems including water in the brain that prompted doctors to say he may have cerebral palsy. "But now he has no problems," she said, attributing this to He's intense education method. Chinese parenting methods have come under the spotlight recently, with many of the country's children forced to study harder than their Western counterparts, often at the expense of sports and other leisure activities.