CTP Video: China’s Societal Pressures. A Morality Crisis?

stock_stabbing_arrestThe fringes of sex and violence have dominated the headlines from China over the past several weeks as the country processes another wave of school stabbings and people react to the government’s decision to crack down on a serial swinger.  The killing of so many school children in such a short period of time, raised new questions over China’s mental health system and the growing societal pressures many people are coping with after 30 years of non-stop economic transformation.  In this edition of the China Talking Points Video Podcast, we approach the issue from a different angle: is China facing a morality crisis?

How Can China be Facing a Morality Crisis?

In a March 2004 cover story for the magazine Finance Asia, journalist Steve Irvine explored the issue of contemporary Chinese morality.  Irvine’s contention, and it still stands today six years later, is that when the Communist Party came to power it sought to discredit the established moral structure that was confucianism.  Communist values, according to the Party, would define morality in Chinese society for decades until the early nineties when Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms began to gain momentum.  While the CCP’s influence faded as capitalism took hold in the 90s and 00s, China’s morality structure was again transformed.  Money, according to Irvine, became the new structure of morality in China.  However, there is widespread consensus that money and consumerism are poor substitutes for a comprehensive set of values rooted in the human experience (e.g. certain aspects of law, religion, etc…).  With the traditional pillars of morality like religion and other widely held faiths largely non-existant in China, and the strains of economic growth wearing on the society, what is the glue that binds people together in a collective shared experience?

We’d like to hear what you think on this issue.  Please leave a comment on the China Talking Points blog or You Tube channel.

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