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A Chinese “tiger mum” has been making her nine-year-old son study 16 hours every day, including after-school lessons and weekend classes in piano, calligraphy, swimming and mathematics, mainland media reports.

The

boy, from the city of Chongqing in the southwest of the country, must follow a detailed schedule – copies of which sparked huge debate after being widely shared on mainland social media.

She makes him wake up at 5am and he starts his extra studies by 6am and is allowed to stop only at 10pm before going to bed at 11pm, the Chongqing Times reported.

During weekdays, the mother, a graduate of China’s prestigious Peking University – who said she had been brought up the same way by her father – makes her son take extra English classes in addition to having to do his homework after school.

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Her son’s weekends are spent taking extra classes in subjects including piano practice, calligraphy, swimming and working through exercises for the World Championship Mathematics Competition, known as the International Mathematical Olympiad.

The mother, identified in the report only by her surname, Liu, told the newspaper that she had not expected the schedule of her son’s extra curriculum studies to have sparked such a huge debate.

She also defended the use of the schedule by saying that it was very important to cultivate the concept of time and self-discipline from an early age.

“If [he] wants to have an easier life in the future, [he] has to work hard from an early age,” Liu said.

“My dad told me the only thing a child can do is to study.”

Liu said she had been brought up in the same way by her father, who had told her that it was necessary so that she was not “left behind” by her contemporaries.

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She said that every part of her son’s schedule had been planned with the aim of improving her son’s training.

Studying the piano would boost his artistic talent, “which would help him to find a girlfriend”, she said, while doing exercises in mathematics problems were to “hone his logistic-thinking ability”.

Liu said she had been reflecting whether she was too strict with her son, but had concluded that “it was not problematic as long as it’s good for the child”.

She also recommended that other parents adopted the methods she was using to educate her son.