Some have been heard to lament China’s love of traditional aspects of society, citing many traditions as being hinderances to real social development and progression. Those people who do feel so may be dismayed, though not surprised, at the recent news that filial piety is still given such importance in 2006:
The city will select 1,000 families and 100 people to act as role models of respect for parents and elders. The event will play a major part in the city’s latest campaign to highlight the virtues of respecting the seniors.
Filial piety, filiality, or filial devotion (xiào, 孝) is considered among the greatest of virtues and must be shown towards both the living and the dead. The term “filial”, meaning “of a child”, denotes the respect and obedience that a child, originally a son, should show to his parents, especially to his father.
Some commentators have also been known to question such worship of the elderly in China. In the west, we generally do without forced and obsessive worship of the elderly, yet we respect them a great deal, as should be so. However the intelligence of continuing to go by the say-so of those people whose values and view of the world were instilled during the Chinese civil war, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution is questionable.
We wonder if giving seats to the elderly on buses and on the subway will be lesson number one of the campaign.
Older culturally-related news also on Shanghaiist:
Excuse us while we go burn condoms for our dead relatives
Simplistic advertising clichés finally being tackled
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A hard knock life for Chinese kids
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Father knows best … but should he choose your wife?