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China Social Hotspots print version
Lixing Aiguo – 'Rational Patriotism'; an approach that allows the Chinese leadership to maintain social order without alleviating ethnic hostility 22-09-2012
.jpg_705Chinese media and politicians are promoting a new term, 'lixing aiguo' - 'rational patriotism', in response to violence in protests against Japan. However, this terminology does not attempt to challenge anger or racism towards Japan but rather illuminates how local violence could damage China in its battle against the Japanese 'enemy'.
Xiao San – Empowerment of Chinese women or keeping them 'small'? 06-09-2012
Among several slang terms that mean 'mistress', xiao san (小三, 'little third') has caught most public attention in recent years. While Chinese society regards 'xiao san' as a negative modern development, it also accepts it as nature outcome of the expansion of the market economy. The vocabulary of xiao san also indicates an impossible adaptation of traditional values to the new structural social conditions in China.
China sums up its Olympic performance in a sweet & bitter flavor 18-08-2012
zhang_wenxiu_528While the Olympics are always good fuel for national pride, mixed emotions take over the Chinese hearts when looking back at the London Olympics: Great medal achievements, yet inferior to the US; complete dominance in several sports, but uncertainty whether these competitions would remain Olympic events in the future; glorious moments but some extraordinary failures (Liu Xiang?). Above all a bitter taste of victimhood seems to fill to mouths of politicians, athletes and netizens, particularly when discussing the refereeing in London 2012.
"Zui mei" - Modern Chinese heroes as the encounter between reality culture and traditional values 16-06-2012

Zhang Lili, Wu Bin, Wu Juping and more are modern role models of Chinese culture, ordinary people who became instant heroes through an altruistic act and pull strongly the emotional chords of Chinese society.

Jianbing Ren, 'pancake people' – A Chinese version of a global phenomenon 28-05-2012
Named after the popular street-food, the slang term 'jianbing ren' presents the impulsiveness and shallowness of the modern capitalist minds. While it is definitely not a phenomenon unique for China, it is interesting to see how it is interpreted and discussed in the contemporary Chinese landscape.
Communist Party censorship against Communism and the different implications of Maoism 24-03-2012
Recent events in Chongqing and the secretive dismissal of Bo Xilai have created a landscape where Maoism has become a target of suppression by the Chinese leadership.
Guan er dai - 官二代 - A mixture of social unrest and corruption 10-03-2012
Many slang terms describe the instable social conditions in China, but 'guan erdai' is perhaps more than any of them causing unrest for Chinese politicians, as it keeps them under the suspicious eye of public discourse.
"zuo shi bei e" – The fear of extortion as the dilemma of the Good Samaritan in contemporary China 20-02-2012
Last October, China and the world were staring with outrage at the incident of little Yueyue, a girl toddler who was hit by a car and later ignored by 18 pedestrian passengers. Society and policy-makers suggest changing relevant legal regulations and promoting acts of 'Good Samaritan', but there is need to understand the dynamic social landscape in China and the factors that hinder providing aid to strangers.
Konggui Zu: Youngsters' fear of returning home for the Chinese New Year as a natural response to traditional and popular values 21-01-2012
In days when everything is colored red and traditional family values intertwine with commercial campaigns, stressing the importance of a happy New Year's family reunion, some young Chinese find it harder to make the shift between their daily life and the festive event, sensing the emotional challenges Spring Festival is bringing about.
Breaking the 4-2-1: How does China react to the permission of a 'second child' for parents who are both singletons? 05-12-2011

A week ago, local government of Henan province has announced it is allowing couples where husband and wife are both singletons to give birth to the 'second child'. 30 Chinese provinces have began implementing such policy before and with Henan completing the list, officials, scholars and common people throughout China are analyzing the reasons behind this act and its intriguing possible outcomes.

Wolf Dad accompanies Tiger Mom, though most Chinese are trying to escape the parenting 'zoo' 26-11-2011
The Chinese Wolf Dad is a new figure in the 'parenting world', promoting strict and violent discipline as method to put Chinese youth back on tracks. Although he is trying to represent traditional Chinese culture, he is mostly corresponding to modern values, while the Chinese society is overall regarding this Wolf as a hinder to its positive development.  
70hou, 80hou, 90hou - The enhanced Chinese generation gap 07-11-2011

Great attention is given in China to the sharp differences between the 70hou (Chinese born in the 1970's), 80hou (Chinese born in the 1980's) and 90hou (Chinese born in the 1990's), as these stereotypes serve as a radar that reflects shifting values. The hard-working 70hou, the capitalist 80hou and the selfish 90hou are not only contrasting each other, but also evolving as we speak.

The 'Xiao Yue Yue' incident as a source of complete despair and a glimpse of hope 25-10-2011
The chilling video of little YueYue being run over and ignored by passengers cannot be ignored, but while some Western journalists are linking the event to a corrupted regime and Chinese personage are promoting Good Samaritan Laws, the widespread emotional response to the incident throughout China is also worth acknowledgement and discussion.
The Dilemma of Quality Education in China 10-10-2011
Allowing kids to enjoy liberal values of creativity and self-cultivation or measuring one's abilities through stressful exams? China's education system is choosing to shift towards the first option, but when a child's 'quality' is called in question, aren't exams the only valid testing measurement?
Fighting rumors: A new way to supervise the Chinese internet sphere 03-10-2011
The Chinese government is adjusting to the growing Cyberspace, while it is adopting new precautions against some forms of expression. Chinese social networks and the Sina Weibo in particular, are being referred to as a tool to spread 'false rumors', in attempt to prevent the public from giving too much power the social-internet realm.
The Chinese Middle Class - Agents of Change or Harmony? 27-09-2011
There are different predictions among scholars concerning where China is heading to politically, though most people agree that the Chinese middle class is a good representative of present and future trends. While some see the growing autonomy of the middle class as an indicator of the limitation of state power and the rise of a civil society, there are scholars who see such class as an agent of political stability and a loyal partner of the Chinese state.
Anquangan 安全感 – What women want, and other people as well... 16-09-2011
Anquangan (安全感 'sense of security') is a term that spans across physical security and well being to economic stability, as well as a broader sense of direction and prospect. Although its linguistic meaning is quite identical to the English counterpart ('sense of security'), in the socioeconomic reality of rapidly changing China, anquangan has a deeper and more sensitive significance.
From Population Quality to Individual Benefit: Two goals that increasingly merge in post-socialist China 05-09-2011
On the changing meaning of the term renkou suzhi 'population quality' in the Chinese market socioeconomy, the relation between personal and social well-being and future trends.
裸婚, Naked Marriage - Surrendering to romantic love, not anticipating a pink future 22-07-2011
裸= nude, 婚=marry; 'marrying naked', without money, an apartment or whatever necessities a new family requires... The 裸婚 luohun couples manage to promote romantic love, oppose some traditional concepts, while still avoid much of the criticism directed at the Chinese post-80s generation, as it is acknowledged that the conditions of 21st century China often do not provide them with better alternatives.
Lala Land – Challenges of lesbianism in China 13-07-2011
While social changes are in their favor, some 21st century conditions actually add pressure on gay-female Chinese who wish to get out of the closet and burn it down
Nationalism and Social Mobilization in 21st Century China – Does Capitalism Repress Unity? 07-07-2011
Immense changes have taken place in the Chinese society throughout the Mao and Deng regimes up to present days, though in many domains the State in China is still quite effective in taking hold of the society and initiating behavior changes.
Approaching the 'Second Child' – Future plan, motives and public demand 17-04-2011
Speculations are becoming more and more concrete, as the 12th Five Year Plan of the Chinese government indicated that the second child (ertai 二胎) might be allowed in the near future. While government officials to abolish birth control completely, they also know that many families won't necessary rush to have their second child.
The reform in the College Entrance Examination – Reducing students' pressure or reinforcing socioeconomic gaps? 16-04-2011
New policies in the famous College Entrance Examination (gaokao 高考) were initiated (高考改革 gaokao gaige) by the Chinese Ministry of Education in 2010. While such reforms might shift some weight away from the gaokao examination and allow students to find additional channels for constructing a good future, such reforms might be favorable mainly by well-off students.
Red posters with capitalist content – Funny merchandise in big Chinese cities 10-04-2011
In touristic and artistic gift stores in big Chinese cities there is a new trend of products: Communist images with capitalist content. A nostalgic desire, an acknowledgement of the current money-making frenzy within the Chinese society and a humoristic view of the sharp gap between the two epochs, are all embedded in these not-so-innocent products.
Where the youngest child becomes an emperor – Does filial piety exist in 21st century China? 21-03-2011
Reverse filial piety or maintaining the value of xiao in the only possible manner - What is a more accurate description to the spoiled, though full of high expectations, lifestyle many young Chinese experience? Although the 'little emperor' phenomenon would probably leave Confucius speechless, perhaps such conducts are in fact the only way to preserve filial piety under the conditions of modern Chinese society.
Renting a Girl for the New Year – Comforting Parents, Elevating Self-Esteem 05-02-2011
"租女友回家过年", renting a girlfriend for the Chinese new year and taking her to meet the parents, is a practice that reveals the dating difficulties some Chinese men experience and it also indicates about some features of parent-child relationship in China.
The Face of Social Mobilization – Important Terms in a Student's Life 24-11-2010
From elementry school to graduaton, this is the process in which a young Chinese if he or she wish not to miss the train, often the only one, which could lead to a significantly brighter future.
Reciting Chinese – East-West Study Mentality Difference or Languages which Require Different Learning Methods? 24-11-2010
From classical Chinese texts, to foreign literature and even math equations: Chinese like reciting. What are the advantages of this method and should foreign students adopt it when studying Chinese?
Filial Piety – Tradition, Social Stability and TV Rating 06-11-2010

Appreciating and supporting one's parents seems to be an emotional theme and an essential value, appearing frequently in the Chinese media and entertainment content. Why is filial piety such a concensus and how does the media and commercial TV use it for their own interests?

China's Pizza Hut Experience - Everything but Pizza 02-10-2010

Pizza Hut as a middle-class family hangout: The colorful face of the chain's restaurants touch the right buttons in urban Chinese.

China's Brand-Name Rush 27-09-2010
China's recent history and fast development hold some explanations for the prominent position of brand name products within the local economy, as well as the issues which lead so many Chinese consumers to well recognized logos.
The Triviality of Emotions in the Chinese Culture – A Source of Self Suppression or Emotional Freedom? 15-08-2010
Though they are too general at times, Sulamith Potter's conclusions regarding the difference between the importance of emotions in western and Chinese cultures emphasize not only the non-productive value of emotions in China, but also the freedom in their expression.
Linglei – The Possibility to Oppose the Mainstream 13-08-2010
The lìnglèi youth can be classified as 'alternative' to the mainstream Chinese culture and even 'rebellious', but their self expression is perhaps an opposition to the conditions in pre-1980 China and a celebration of new opportunities in present days, more than truly resisting a modern Chinese culture.
Romantic Materialism 11-08-2010
Are couples in China nowadays less into romantic love and are more focused on material benefits? Were the early days of the PRC filled with romance or rather suppressing sexuality? Here are some key events in the in the development of the marriage institution and related norms in China in the last several decades.
Woju - Dwelling Narrowness - The Eternal Quest for a Better Lifestyle 08-08-2010
Based on a 2007 novel by Liuliu, Woju 蜗居, 'Dwelling Narrowness' has become a popular TV series in 2009, addressing urban social problems directly, though gently.
Chinese Singletons - Basic ‘Spoiled’ Related Vocabulary 25-07-2010
There are many interesting topic related to the new generations of China's single children 独生子女 (dúshēng zǐnǔ). Leaving a side the emotional pressure they experience and China's demographic concerns, here are some basic terms that describe the 'spoiled' character of Chinese singletons.
To Live 活着- From a Yuhua Novel to a Zhang Yimou Production 05-06-2010
I was lucky to attend a lecture by famous author Yuhua, in which he discussed the of the adaptation process of his famous book to a 1994 movie by Zhang Yimou. A humoristic interesting story.
Dagongmei – Women migrant laborers – Independence through Capitalism or Capitalism through Independence? 21-05-2010
For dagongmei (打工妹), woman workers who come from the country side to work in one of the factories in eastern China, there are no illusions about the hard nature of their work. Leaving home and becoming urban workers is for them the adaptation of a modern lifestyle as well as a unique root of becoming independent of their parents' moral authority. 
Ermo (二嫫) - Women’s Independence, Men’s Impotence 21-05-2010
The fascinating 1994 movie 'Ermo' 二嫫, discusses the story of a peasant woman, Ermo, in her quest to join the modern capitalist race. Ermo's initiative is induced by her veteran husband's metaphoric and physical impotence.
Fuerdai - The New Agents of Value Deterioration 21-05-2010
In China's popular discourse associates several moral and social problems with the fuerdai 富二代, the descendents of wealthy Chinese who became rich during the reform era. What is unique in the environment of the fuerdai that makes them the target of public criticism?
Guanxi and Guanxixue: The Advantage of Personal Connections in Modern China 21-05-2010
What is the difference between guanxi 关系 and simple personal ties? What is the difference between guanxi and guanxixue and is it a myth that the two carry an essential role in both traditional and present Chinese culture?
Guanxi and Amauru, the Driving Force of Social Interactions in China and Japan? 10-05-2010

There some common features in the Japanese sentiment amae and the Chinese practice of guanxi. However, while guanxi is often linked to a collectivist Chinese society, amae is a more universalistic concept that can perhaps be understood better in the west. Through amae the emotional root of guanxi can perhaps also become more comprehensible.

Preference of a Son - A tendency preserved mainly by women? 06-05-2010

While women's status in China is improving, in some households parents still prefer male offspring. More suprising is the fact that women who have experienced discrimination in the past and wish to create a different reality for their children, often, in fact, preserve the attitude of prefering a son over a daughter.

Confucianism – New Agent of Modernity? 01-04-2010
Confucianism (儒家思想) nowadays isn't being revived only in a nostalgic fashion, but is also being modified into a value system justifying China's unique form of capitalism.
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