The report said that more than 80% of primary school pupils surveyed by the National Youth Working Committee last year said teacher insults were their most serious problem.

"The amendment ... requires teachers and other school staff to respect minors and prohibits corporal punishment of students," Xinhua said.

The amendment is being considered by the standing committee of China's parliament.

Teachers who hit or insult their pupils could be fired, according to the new rules under consideration, Xinhua said.

Two years ago, a 17-year-old girl killed herself after a teacher humiliated her in front of the class, it said.

The life of a Chinese student is not easy.

Costly and competitive

For most, tuition is no longer free as it was in communist China's heyday, and pupils often go to after-hours cram schools to prepare them for highly competitive exams for a limited number of university places.

In poverty-stricken rural areas, some schools have no teachers, and children must study with only the most basic educational materials.

In 2001, more than 40 students died in a fireworks explosion in their classroom in the southeastern province of Jiangxi.

Some parents said their children had been forced to make the fireworks in class to supplement the school's income.