Gifted education in China is a relatively recent development based on Western conceptions of giftedness. However, the Chinese tradition of valuing gifted and talented children can be traced as far back as the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE–25 CE) when systematic procedures for identifying shen-tong (prodigies) evolved into the establishment of Tong-Zi-Ke (Children Examination System) for selecting gifted children for government positions and scholarly pursuits in the imperial court. This examination system became more rigorous in the Tang Dynasty (618–906) with a focus on literary abilities, and continued to be employed in subsequent dynasties. The general view in imperial China was that gifted children possessed tian-cai (heavenly ability), which was an inborn ability or a natural endowment from heaven. The term tian-cai as in

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