We know you’re probably tired of hearing about Valentine’s Day, but we just discovered on mop.com the existence of a group called the “Go Die Club” (死死团), whose members are on a mission to eradicate love, or at least the mawkish, sugar-coated thing that passes for love and romance in a consumerist society such as today’s China. All the information and links are on this main page, including a history of this group. Word has it that the name first came about in Japan in relation to some manga. The name then spread from Japan to Taiwan and Hong Kong and finally to the PRC. However, to the best of our understanding it wasn’t always an “anti-Valentine’s Day” or love type of group. However, in China, that’s what they become. Their motto is “death to couples,” but read furtehr before you dismiss this as the gripes of fugly people that never get laid.
The group’s animus is directed against the Chinese media, which somehow never seems to tire of hokey love songs and sappy soap operas, movies, and commercials. The group believes that an idealized and ultimately false picture of how love and romance actually work in society.
In other words, they aren’t against love per se, but rather against what they see as the commodified form of love—love as consumption. They dislike the bouquets, candle-lit dinners, super-thin ribbed tequila flavored condoms, and most importantly, the idea that you have to be with someone or be in love in order to be someone.
That’s why their T-shirts boast such catchy slogans such as “fuck couples” and “die couples.” They’re turned off by those public displays of affection that seem more motivated by an exhibitionist impulse than genuine desire to express affection.
The language they use to describe their mission and the requirements for membership is interesting. First, take a look at their mission:
独善其身 （du shan qi shen) is an interesting aphorism which we looked up and discovered to be from ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius. If you look at the entire passage from which these four characters were taken, it seems that what Mencius desired was that you engage in moral self-cultivation, even when this means going against the grain. The second part of the mission says uses 渡化 (du hua) which we think is Buddhist phrase that means something along the lines of purify or deliver, not in the Christian sense but in the sense of guiding one away from the notions of good and bad or good and evil, which are the basis of human suffering (dukkha). So taken as a (self-ironic) whole, it means something like “we’re going to guard these values so that one day we can show people the right path.” And these conditions for membership in the group:
1. You have to be single
2. You have to condemn inappropriate forms of love and romance, such as those that involve exchanges of cash, power, and interests; being a playa, irresponsible sex, and being the third party.
3. You cannot have a bad emotional record (which we think means that you cannot have done a lot of (2) in the past).
We’re not sure how much they do in real life, other than wearing their T-shirts in public. If anyone knows, leave us a comment.
Photo from bbs.mop.com