China bans toddler palm-reading assessments

BEIJING Wed Feb 1, 2012 2:38am EST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China has banned kindergartens in a northern province from offering palm-reading tests that the schools had claimed could predict toddlers' intelligence level and potential, state news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Although many parents in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, eagerly brought their children to be tested, some later complained about the high cost and raised questions about the testing method, which test-givers said could reveal the children's aptitude in music, mathematics and languages.

"We have issued a circular to criticize the three kindergartens that offered palm-reading tests for 1,200 yuan ($190) per person," Xinhua quoted Ma Zhaoxing, the local education bureau chief, as saying, adding that the practice had been banned.

Authorities were investigating whether the company that designed the tests, Shanxi Daomeng Culture Communication Co., Ltd., had violated any laws, Xinhua said.

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.

(Reporting by Sabrina Mao and Ken Wills,)

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