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News-based English language activities from the global newspaper Page 1

March 2010
Level ≥ Advanced
Style ≥ Individual or group activities
Welcome to the Guardian Weekly’s special news-based materials to support learners and teachers of
English. Each month, the Guardian Weekly newspaper selects topical news articles that can be used to
practise English language skills. The materials are graded for two levels: Advanced and Lower Intermediate.
These worksheets can be downloaded free from guardianweekly.co.uk/learningenglish/. You can also
find more advice for teachers and learners from the Guardian Weekly’s Learning English section on the site.
Materials prepared by Janet Hardy-Gould

Chinese toddler chained through love and fear

Theft-proof ... Jingdan in his shackles Quirky China News/Rex Features

Before reading
1 Vocabulary from the article – nouns related to 1 a child of a particular couple or person
people and families. 2 a person who is a member of the same family as
Match these words to the definitions. somebody else
a toddler 3 a woman who is going to get married
b household 4 a person who receives money when another person
c offspring dies
d bride 5 a child who has recently learned to walk
e heir 6 a person who moves from one place to another to
f relative find work
g migrant 7 all the people who live together in one home
News-based English language activities from the global newspaper Page 2

March 2010

2 Look at the headline, photo and caption with a centre while her mother collected scrap there to
partner. Discuss possible words to complete these sell to recyclers.
a The child is about years 6 Tens of thousands of children go missing
old. each year in China; most are the offspring of
b He’s standing in the in a impoverished migrant workers like Chen,
city in .
snatched and then sold on for ­anywhere between
c He’s chained up so that
a few hundred and a few thousand dollars.
3 Discuss the question below as a class. Officials have warned that the problem is on the
a How do you think people reacted when they first saw rise.
this photo?
b Why was the photo so controversial? 7 Boys are often sold to families desperate for an
heir; girls can be reared as future brides for rural
Article men. Both sexes are taken for labour or to beg for
gangs, say experts.
Chinese toddler chained
through love and fear 8 The problem has grown so acute that authorities
have launched a campaign to crack down on
1 It was a picture that shocked viewers around the child trafficking. Last year they created a national
world last month: a Chinese toddler chained to DNA database to reunite families and a website
a post outside a shopping centre in the freezing featuring the photographs and details of rescued
Beijing winter. children. Officials say they have saved around
2,000 children and returned at least some to
2 However, behind the image of two-year-old their parents.
Jingdan lies a tale not of intentional cruelty but,
it seems, one of misplaced love and fear: his 9 But Chen has little hope of reunion. “It will be
sister had disappeared from the same spot just hard to find my daughter because I don’t have a
two weeks earlier. photo.” The family couldn’t afford one, he said.

3 “I was afraid I would lose him too,” their father, 10 “The police didn’t tell me anything – I don’t know
Chen Chuanliu, said. whether they have opened a case. They just told
me to look around the area myself.”
4 Four-year-old Jinghong has not been seen since
22 January, when Chen left her playing with Tania Branigan Beijing
friends while he worked as a motorcycle taxi
driver. Although Beijing is generally regarded as
safe, he, like nearby residents, believes she has Glossary
been abducted.
chain (verb) to attach a person to something with a long
metal chain so that they can’t escape or be stolen
5 Chen’s wife, Yang Caihong, has learning
shackles (noun, plural) metal rings put around a pris-
disabilities and is unable to care for the children,
oner’s ankles or wrists
and the couple have no relatives in the city. post (noun) a tall piece of wood or metal that stands in
Although the family have lived in Beijing for the ground to hold something
years, China’s household registration system rear (verb) to care for young children or animals until
means they are still regarded as migrants and not they are fully grown
entitled to free nursery care. So, from the age of
just 40 days, Jinghong was taken to the shopping
News-based English language activities from the global newspaper Page 3

March 2010

2 Read the article again. In which ­paragraph can you

While reading find the following information? Write down the
1 Read the article and answer the ­questions. relevant statistic.
a What happened when the image of ­Jingdan first a The number of Chinese children who disappear
appeared? annually.
b The date when Jinghong first ­disappeared.
c The age when Jingdan was first left in the ­
d The number of trafficked children helped by the
Chinese authorities.
b What is the real reason why Jingdan is chained to a e The age at which Jinghong went missing.
post? f The minimum price received for a child.

After reading
1 What do these words and phrases from the text
c What happened to Jingdan’s sister? a … a tale of misplaced love and fear … (paragraph 2)

b they are … not entitled to free nursery care. (para 5)

d Why isn’t Jingdan properly cared for? Give three
c … her mother collected scrap there to sell … (para 5)

d Officials have warned the problem is on the rise.
e What type of children go missing? What happens (para 6)
to them?

e Boys are sold to families desperate for an heir. (para 7)

f What are the authorities doing about the situation?
f … authorities have launched a campaign to
crack down on child... trafficking. (para 8)

g Why does Chen think he won’t find his daughter?
2 Read this synopsis of the text. Find synonyms from
the article to replace the words in bold.
The (a) story behind the photo of ­Jingdan isn’t one of
(b) deliberate ­unkindness or cruelty. Jingdan’s parents
are ­simply afraid of losing their son. They believe ≥4
d 8, 2,000
Answers e 4, four
f 6, a few hundred dollars
Before reading After reading
1a5b7c1d3e4f2g6 1a wrongly placed; not appropriate in the situation
2 Possible answers: a two. b street; China. c he can’t be taken away – he’s “theft b have the right to get or do something
proof”. c unwanted items that can be used in another way
While reading d increasing ­­
1 a People around the world were shocked. e ­wanting something very much
b His parents are afraid he will be abducted. f try much harder to prevent an illegal activity
c She was left playing with friends but disappeared; probably abducted. 2 a tale b intentional c abducted d ­­spot e acute f impoverished g snatched
d Chen’s wife has learning disabilities. The couple have no family in Beijing and h offspring
they can’t get free nursery care. 3 a past perfect; for something done in an earlier past time b present perfect
e The children of poor migrants. They are sold on for different purposes. (passive); for a situation that began in the past and is still continuing c present
f They have launched a campaign and created a database. perfect (passive); for a recent past event with a present result (she’s missing)
g He has no photo or information from the police. d present simple; for a fact e past simple; for a finished past event f will; for a
2 a 6, tens of thousands prediction
b 4, 22 January c 5, 40 days

f “It will be hard to find my daughter … .” (para 9)

(para 2)
a … his sister had disappeared … just two weeks earlier.
past and is still continuing.
(para 8) Present perfect – for a situation which began in the
e Last year they created a national DNA database … The family have lived in Beijing for years. (para 5)
Identify the structures and comment on their use. 3

(para 6) e
d Tens of thousands of children go ­missing each year … d
of workers who travel to cities to find employment.
c … he … believes she has been abducted. (para 4) number of the missing are the (h) sons and daughters
and then sold on to people in other areas. A significant
The children are (g) taken suddenly in the streets
(e) serious in China particularly for (f) poor migrants.
The problem of missing children has become more
on the streets of Beijing.
January … (para 4) exactly the same (d) place where Jingdan now stands
b Four-year-old Jinghong hasn’t been seen since 22 that their only daughter was (c) ­kidnapped from
March 2010
Page 4 News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

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