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September 4, 2009

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Province wants to put legal leash on puppy love

THE first effort in China to list puppy love as "misconduct" and suggest that parents put a stop to it has sparked controversy across the country.
Heated debate over the regulation has spread across the news media and Websites nationwide after the "Regulation for the Protection of Minors of Heilongjiang Province," the first of its kind, was adopted by the provincial legislature last month.
The regulation, which goes into effect on October 1, states, "Parents and other guardians should reprimand and educate children who are minors when they are involved in misconduct and unlawful acts including puppy love, illegal cohabitation, drug use and prostitution and should prohibit and rectify such misconduct and unlawful acts."
Some critics said lawmakers in the province are overconfident in their attempt to ban puppy love, while others doubt the implementation of the regulation would be practical.
"Love for the opposite sex is a natural part of life as one grows up. I believe it is not a bad thing after all," China Youth Daily quoted one Netizen as saying.
"How shall we define puppy love? Is it puppy love when a boy holds the hand of a girl?" another Netizen asked.
Wu Wenbin, deputy director of the Committee for Internal and Judicial Affairs of the Heilongjiang People's Congress, said some critics had an incomplete understanding of the regulation.
"The regulation does not directly ban puppy love. It stresses the responsibility of parents and guardians," Wu said.
The section on puppy love was not included in the draft until lawmakers made the suggestion in August.
Infatuation among teenagers was regarded as taboo 20 years ago. Teens who experienced puppy love, once it was exposed, could be humiliated and punished at school and beaten at home.
But today's parents are more tolerant while education specialists say children's interest in the opposite sex is an positive sign demonstrating they are growing up in a healthy fashion.
More enlightened Chinese parents believe teenage love could help youngsters accumulate experience in dealing with the opposite sex, which would benefit them in marriage.
"Parents have reason to worry about the side effects of puppy love, but the problem can never be resolved by laws and regulations," said Wang Aili, a sociologist at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences.
"Society should provide more physiological, psychological and ethical education for the children."


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