Toddlers subjected to palm-reading assessments in China

BEIJING Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:05am EST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Several kindergartens in a province in northern China are charging parents 1,200 yuan ($190) for a palm-reading test that they claim can predict their toddlers' intelligence and potential, state news agency Xinhua said.

Many parents have flocked to palm readers for the test, used in kindergartens in northern Shanxi province and designed for children above the age of three months, the report said.

According to the company that designed the tests, Shanxi Daomeng Culture Communication Co, the reading of palms helps "determine the children's innate intelligence and potential," Xinhua reported.

In Communist Party-ruled China, a one-child policy has raised the stakes for parents who place great emphasis on educating their children in the expectation that the offspring will support them when they grow old.

Some experts, however, have dismissed the idea of the palm-reading technology.

"This technology remains unaccounted for," Xinhua quote a pediatrics expert as saying.

Fortune-telling, including palm-reading, has deep roots in Chinese tradition, although China's leaders have discouraged and punished devotees of the practice which they brand superstition.

Many people, including government officials, seek geomancy masters' guidance on financial, career and personal matters and many Chinese couples go so far as to plan the timing of a child's birth to fall within auspicious times in the lunar calendar.

(Reporting by Sabrina Mao and Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Ken Wills)

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