Show raises con­cern over child pro­tec­tion

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By XIN­HUA

A pop­u­lar Chi­nese re­al­ity show fea­tur­ing fake fa­ther­daugh­ter pairs has been ac­cused of show­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate re­la­tion­ships be­tween adults and chil­dren.

The fourth sea­son of the re­al­ity show Dad, Where Are We Go­ing pairs “in­tern” fa­thers, all celebri­ties, with chil­dren who are not their own. In pre­vi­ous sea­sons, the show only fea­tured celebrity dads and their real chil­dren, but a gov­ern­ment ban on the “overuse” of celebri­ties’ chil­dren forced the show to change.

In this sea­son, 23-year-old Olympic ath­lete Dong Li is des­ig­nated as “fa­ther” to 4-yearold Cui Ya­han. He takes care of the lit­tle girl sev­eral days a week, eats and sleeps with her, an­dis present when she bathes.

Crit­ics slam med one episode in which the girl told Dong that when she grows up, she wants to marry him, as well as to an in­ter­view in which Dong said his dream girl is Arale, Ya­han’s nick­name.

The show’s pro­duc­tion com­pany, Mango TV, fanned the flames by post­ing an on­line video clip set to a love song and cap­tioned “Dong and Arale’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Let’s Fall in Love”, re­fer­ring to a fa­mous Chi­nese dat­ing show.

How­ever, the pair’s pop­u­lar­ity has trig­gered con­cerns among par­ents and ex­perts. Some have claimed that the pop­u­lar­ity of the show may mis­lead the pub­lic about ap­pro­pri­ate adult-child re­la­tion­ships and make chil­dren vul­ner­a­ble.

A mother-to-be pub­lished an open let­ter on Sina Weibo, ex­press­ing her anger that the show’s pro­duc­ers have edited the show tomake the pair look like a cou­ple.

“If she were your daugh­ter, would you ever let her stay with a strange man wear­ing only un­der­wear? Would you ever al­low a 23-year-old man to tell the me­dia that his ideal type of girl­friend is your 3-year-old daugh­ter?” the woman wrote.

How­ever, oth­ers were quick to de­fend the show against the ac­cu­sa­tions.

“I don’t think the pair are creepy. They are so adorable. Please don’t ex­ag­ger­ate just to scare the pub­lic,” a mi­croblog­ger said.

The pro­gram re­sponded via mi­cro blog, say­ing the crit­ics are “over-in­ter­pret­ing”.

“The clips of Dong’s words were in­tended to show his pa­ter­nal love, but these clips were dis­torted and in­ter­preted out of con­text, mis­lead­ing ne­ti­zens,” ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

The state­ment added that Dong never stays alone with the girl. Cam­eras are placed ev­ery­where, and the girl has a fe­male di­rec­tor to help her change her clothes and bathe, it said.

How­ever, the ex­pla­na­tion has ir­ri­tated some child pro­tec­tion ex­perts, who have called for the is­sue to be taken se­ri­ously.

Jiang Jing, procu­ra­tor at the Jin­niu dis­trict procu­ra­torate in Chengdu, Sichuan province, said that the show sets a bad ex­am­ple for sex ed­u­ca­tion and is too flip­pant in its treat­ment of the safety risks girls face.

“As a re­al­ity show that has been viewed up to 350 mil­lion times on the in­ter­net, the pro­gram should have done bet­ter,” Jiang said, urg­ing the show to thor­oughly con­sider its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“Child pro­tec­tion should be the pri­or­ity when show­ing the in­ti­macy and ‘love’ be­tween the ‘in­tern’ fa­ther-daugh­ter pair,” Jiang said.

As a re­al­ity show that has been viewed up to 350 mil­lion times on the in­ter­net, the pro­gram should have done bet­ter.” Jiang Jing, procu­ra­tor

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