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Theme 2: Chinese Culture and Modern Life

Theme 2: Chinese Culture and Modern Life

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Theme 2: Chinese Culture and Modern Life

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  1. Theme 2: Chinese Culture and Modern Life LS F.5 2013-14

  2. Learning Objectives • To examine how traditional Chinese concepts and cultures (e.g. family, values) are challenged in modern life. • To identify and explain the changing trends in Chinese family structure and the changing concepts of the family since reform and opening up. • To assess the impacts of these changes on Chinese society.

  3. What is culture?

  4. Culture • Culture is defined as “the common beliefs, values, customs, language, behaviour, rituals, and objects of a social group.” (UNESCO联合国教科文组织) • an important sector of social and human development, which contributes to identity-building and self-esteem, fosters economic growth and social cohesion

  5. What are the core values of traditional Chinese Culture? Watch a short video extracted from BBC History – Chinese culture (Part 1. language)

  6. Confucianism儒家思想 and Family家—the 2 dominant traditional Chinese concepts that shape Chinese culture and organization of Chinese society

  7. Confucianism-- • An ancient social and ethical philosophy and system of hierarchy and order that regulate the individuals, families, and states in traditional China. • It permeates Chinese cultures and still influences China. • Loyalty忠, filial piety孝, benevolence仁, righteousness 義, rituals禮, wisdom 智,shame恥 • “Do not do to other what you do not want them to do to you” • “Five relationships”五倫: Emperor-minister, father-son, husband-wife, siblings, and friends • Analects <論語> is the canon of Confucianism

  8. Great Learning《大學》 • Self-cultivation 修身 • Set up a family齊家 • Govern the country平天下

  9. Observe the strokes of the character and explain its symbolic meaning.

  10. 家 symbolizes “all living under one roof” Watch BBC documentary, Real Chinese, Part 2 - Home and Family What were the characteristics of a traditional Chinese family?

  11. A ideal family of three generations in traditional China 三代同堂 • Old family structure, three generations living together • Big family

  12. Traditional Chinese family systems • Lineage and clan system (genealogy, ancestral hall and clan fields) (族譜) • Inheritance system (繼承制度) • Patriarchy (父系社會) – the oldest male as the head of a family 家長or community村長 • Patriarchal supremacy – The oldest male (i.e. grandfather/father) has the highest authority in a family • Father-son domination – parents have to teach and raise their children, while children have to support their parents • Family’s collective interests surpass individual interests What are the characteristics of a traditional Chinese family?

  13. Modern Chinese family • Small family • One child per family

  14. What are the causes of changes in family structure? • What are the challenges to the traditional Chinese concepts of family?

  15. One child policy introduced in 1979 • meant to control the booming population and reduce the strain on China’s resources. Watch: Background on One-Child policy

  16. Challenge to traditional concepts of a big Chinese family—shrinking family size • The average size of family household continues to shrink from 4.33 members in 1953, to 3.10 in 2010

  17. Impact of One-Child Policy—“4-2-1 family structure”“四二一家庭” • 4 grandparents, 2 parents and 1 child - is rapidly becoming the new norm in Chinese cities, largely as a result of three decades of one-child policy, which resulted in most couples having only one child. What are the problems of 4-2-1 families?

  18. Challenges facing 4-2-1 family • Traditionally, Chinese people are expected to care for their parents in later life. • Yet, the fact families are shrinking and people are living longer means an aging population • younger generations and China's elderly care services face immense pressure in coming years.

  19. Reform in One-Child Policy 2013 • The Standing Committee of the National People‘s Congress passed a resolution allowing couples to have two children if either parent is an only child. • This can help alleviate the problems of 4-2-1 families. BBC 28th December 2013

  20. Impact of One-Child Policy on family planning • New family planning strategy • Spoiled child as he/she is the only child in the family. • High expectation for the future of their single-child. • Middle-class and super-rich families will send their kids abroad to study. • Many even opt for emigration.

  21. Emigration of Rich Chinese families The Hurun Research Institute has published statistics in 2011 revealing that 14% of China’s wealthy have emigrated out of the country or are applying to do so, and a further 46% are considering it

  22. Watch CCTV Why and how did the super-rich families emigrate?

  23. better education for their single child—parents’ priority

  24. A wave of emigration • Almost 10 million Chinese have emigrated over last 23 years. • The four major destinations for Chinese emigrants in recent years were the US, where 81,784 Chinese nationals were granted permanent residency, Canada where the figure was 33,018, Australia, where it was 29,547, and New Zealand where it was 7,723, totaling 152,000. Want ChinaTimes2014-01-23 Fireworks in Vancouver Canada, one of the most popular destinations for Chinese emigration.

  25. Cities of origin • 2014-01-22 11:02 (

  26. What are the implications of this large wave of emigration of Chinese families for China and the world?

  27. Implications for China—outflow of assets and capitals • The Center for China and Globalization stated in a report on Jan. 21 that in 2011, Chinese nationals with individual investable assets over 6 million yuan (US$991,000) transferred a total of 2.8 trillion yuan (US$462 billion) worth of assets — accounting for 3% of China's GDP in 2011 — out of a total of 33 trillion yuan (US$5 trillion), abroad, • with Hong Kong, with 22%, the US, with 21%, and Canada, with 16%, being the three largest destinations, followed by Switzerland with 9%, Singapore with 6% and Australia with 5%.

  28. Loss of talents for China • More than 150,000 mainlanders obtained overseas citizenship in 2012, meaning they have made a new home, or an alternative one. • The rich and educated elites are becoming the main force in the latest round of emigration • The main beneficiaries were the US (87,000), Canada and Australia (30,000 each) and New Zealand (6,000). “Brain drain should send message to China's leaders” SCMP, 6th January, 2013

  29. Implications for the world-rising property prices • the purchase of overseas properties by Chinese nationals has increased rapidly in recent years in line with the trend of investment-oriented emigration (投資移民) • Chinese nationals have become the second-largest group of overseas property buyers since 2011. • They also account for 20%-40% of offshore buyers for property markets in Toronto, Brisbane and London, jacking up local property prices.

  30. One-Child Policy also creates a serious gender imbalance in China • Due to a traditional preference for boys, large numbers of female babies have ended up homeless or in orphanages, and in some cases killed. • In 2000, it was reported that 90 per cent of foetuses aborted in China were female. Watch:

  31. According to the Chinese Academy of Social Science estimates that by 2020, 24 million Chinese men will be unable to find a wife in their own country. • China’s gender gap — 118 boys are born for every 100 girls — has become one of the world’s widest “Leftover men” 剩男

  32. Modern matchmaking 配對/相親 • The cultural pressure to marry, gender imbalance, rising socioeconomic status of women, inequality of wealth, busy lifestyles, long working hours in modern day have led to an explosion of matchmaking businesses.

  33. Continuity of traditional Chinese culture相親 • Matchmaking is a process of making a match of unmarried man and woman by a matchmaker媒人 which is a common way of choosing spouse in ancient China. • In Zhou Dynasty, the post of "official matchmaker" was set up for management of marriage, supervising and urging young people of nubile ages or widows and widowers to marry. Later, the meaning of "matchmaker" extended to all persons or events that act as a go-between of marriage between two families. • 門當戶對, meaning roughly “family doors of equal size.”

  34. Chinese Air Force Officers and 150 local ladies are getting together to have a big match-making party.

  35. Would you consider matchmaking? Why/why not? Watch matchmaking fair in Shanghai CCTV

  36. Is everything up for sale in China? Do you agree that love/marriage can be a commodity just like any other goods that can be traded in an open market? Watch

  37. “Today, the logic of buying and selling no longer applies to material goods alone but increasingly governs the whole life…We need to rethink the role that markets should play in our society…we need to think through the moral limits of markets. We need to ask whether there are some things money should not buy.” Michael Sandel, What Money Can’t Buy Then Moral Limits of Markets (2012), p.6, 7.

  38. Matchmaking service caters to millionaires • Organized by Golden Bachelor Matchmakers, 20 single ladies and 20 wealthy bachelors are invited to attend a ball in Shanghai. • The matchmaking company is recruiting guests for this event; 2,779 women and 773 men have signed up on its website to be among the elite, but only 200 will be selected.

  39. “Leftover women” Shengnu剩女also looking for love *Definition of shengnu in China: an unmarried 27-year-old female. Watch CBS news: 1. Do you findshengnuan acceptable term to describe unmarried women? 2. What are the causes of many “leftover women” in China?

  40. Female billionaires shengnu looking for love Watch: 1. What is the message in the song? 2. Does the message in any way challenge the traditional Chinese concepts of family/marriage?

  41. China’s matchmaker Apps vie with tradition for hearts • The rapid explosion of internet and smartphone users opens the way for online dating which revolutionizes the traditional way of matchmaking in China

  42. 世纪佳缘 • China’s largest dating website • It has nearly 100 million users – and tens of thousands sign up daily • It has helped people from all walks of life, from 18 to 80, to find their match. Watch video.

  43. What are the pros and cons of online dating? How does it affect the way men and women interact with each other?

  44. Matchmaking reality show

  45. ‘Empty nest families “空巢家庭”another great challenge to traditional Chinese family structure What is “空巢家庭”?

  46. Rising number of empty nest families in China—due to • 所谓“空巢家庭”,是指子女长大成人后从父母家庭中相继分离出去后,只剩下老年一代人独自生活的家庭. • This phenomenon is the by-product of Reform and Opening-up as the younger generations leave their families in the villages and work in the cities. • “內地空巢家庭比例激升”<香港文匯報 >2012-08-07 • <中國民生發展報告2012>顯示,中國空巢家庭超13%,有75%的已婚子女不與父母同住

  47. Implications of Empty nest families • 空巢家庭比例迅速上升,勢必帶來養老、家庭服務、情感關懷等問題。 <香港文匯報 >2012-08-07

  48. “Left-behind children”留守兒童 –destabilize Chinese family • an unfortunate outcome of reform and opening-up and migrant workers • About 61 million Chinese kids haven't seen one or both parents for at least three months (Wall Street Journal , Jan. 17, 2014 ) • This again shatters the traditional concept of an ideal Chinese family and cohesion Watch a short report by Wall Street Journal

  49. Rising divorce rate—another great challenge to traditional Chinese concepts of family and marriage

  50. Traditional Chinese culture was against divorce • An ancient proverb admonishes newlyweds to “be married until your hair turns white.” 百頭到老 • “Holding each other’s hands and grow old together”執子之手,與子皆老