BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Many Chinese consider the questions for the literature component of the just-ended college entrance exam as strange, while some think they were ethically orientated.
The literary composition is the heaviest item in the exam, which is held June 7-8 every year.
Shortly after the exam ended noon Thursday, the questions were revealed and have since been widely discussed.
"I would have failed the exam if I had taken it this year," said Peng Dan, a 30-year-old IT manager from Chongqing municipality. "Maybe students now have more imagination than us."
Tianjin municipality's exam question for the literary component asked examinees to write an article based on two fish talking with each other about water quality.
"It sounds weird," said Wang Yali, a marketing personnel who took the exam 13 years ago.
But the most weird question was in the exam given in Shaanxi, Henan, Heilongjiang and some other provinces that use the same test paper. The test asked the examinees to write an article based on a worker painting a boat that he fixes a hole in. For his troubles, the owner of the boat gives him a large amount of money.
The owner says,"I thought my children would never come back when they went to sea in the boat, as I knew there was a hole in it."
"How could the owner allow his children to use the boat when he knew there was a hole in it?" many people have asked.
Many examinees have complained that it was too difficult to find ideas with the given materials in the given time.
However, experts view the questions in a different way. Jiang Bo, a senior Chinese teacher from the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, said the topics, although they may seem very vague, give room for the imagination.
In addition, those topics also reflect that the country is now paying more attention to the moral education of students.
"For instance, the story of the worker painting the boat, we can write the composition from many angles, including the responsibility, thankfulness, and return for the other's goodness," said Jiang.
Generally speaking, topics for this year's composition focus on social responsibility, said Zhang Jian, deputy dean of Chinese language and literature department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
China's college entrance exam is the largest exam in the world, with more than 9.15 million people taking it this year nationwide.
"I feel the topics of composition this year have returned to the essence of literature -- the human spirit," said a Chinese teacher from Yin Chuan, northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, adding that "the topics teach us to accumulate benevolence and achieve the virtue, which is in line with the current mainstream values of society."
Some experts said the latter story can be explained as the care for the other, although very subtle, should be widely promoted so that to make the society more warm and considerate.
"But the composition is not the only purpose," said Jiang Bo "Training the students' thinking ability and fostering correct view of morality are most important."