He’s known as a “strange official,” (奇官) a “strange person” (奇人) and a “reformist” (中国改革派官员). He’s also become quite popular, with more than 600,000 followers on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. His name: Luo Chongmin (@罗崇敏), head of Yunan province’s Department of Education.
Sina Weibo’s most-retweeted image of May 6, 2012 (according to Hong Kong University’s Weiboscope) depicts Luo giving a May 4 speech at Southwest University in Chongqing, where he is reported (Chinese) to have said to “thunderous applause” that the Gao Kao, China’s dreaded equivalent of the SAT, should be eliminated. Luo complained, “Is it fair that one test questionnaire evaluates 16 years of study? The testing system turns students into test-taking machines, and teachers into engineers making test-taking machines.”
He continued that of the 137 first-place takers of the High Exam (状元) since China’s Reform and Opening period, not one has become a captain of industry or an international leader.
China’s Gao Kao, also known as the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, is a three-day long examination that, for most of China’s high school seniors, essentially determines where they will attend college. Although it succeeds in creating a national standard, it has been criticized for its predominance in what many see as a rigid primary and secondary education system. You can learn more about it here.