19 April 2008

Looking at the next generation's moral education through Wang Qianyan

This article was referenced on danwei.org first. I have decided to do a translation.

Please note that there's a notice on the bottom of the original article warning against cross-posts. As I don't really know how to contact them to notify them that I have done a translation, I have decided to go ahead and post it for the edification of those people who cannot read Chinese.

As always, I am not making any money off of this blog. My opinions are not those of the original authors'.

Other slight disclaimer, which I should have brought up in my last post: I have a slight acquaintance with the girl in question.


This article (op-ed) was taken from Sohu.com at http://baobao.sohu.com/20080417/n256324780.shtml

Wang Qianyuan – Qingdao No. 2 High School graduate, publicly supports Tibetan separatists in American (inserted photo not included)

At the same time that the Olympic torch relay was successfully completed in San Francisco, Chinese students studying in America also gave the Beijing Olympics their warmest support. However, during an anti-Tibetan separatist demonstration of Chinese students at Duke University today, W, a graduate of the Qingdao No 2 High School, disregarded reality and sided with the Tibetans. She raised the matters of human rights in Tibetans and took up the slogan of ‘free tibet’, and the few hundred international students at the scene witnessed her shameless, terrible behavior. She lost a lot of face for the Chinese people! W – if we can forgive the Americans for not knowing any better, what about you? The Chinese people are forever ashamed of the things out of your treacherous mouth!

In this economically developing society, many people both in the east tand west habitually use economics to judge something, or someone.

Many parents have tried very hard to educate the next generation, but they have neglected to train the moral character of their children due to their overemphasis on their children’s academic abilities. From this matter with W, we can see that a child’s moral education is an indispensable part of growing up.

Remember when we were young, the first grade of elementary school had a class called: Moral and Character Education*. We had to pass the class in order to go on to the next grade, or else we were retained. The first lesson in Language Arts class is about Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The first two characters we learn are Zhong Guo, China. But now that the Moral and Character Education class has been set aside, current events have proven that this is unacceptable.

A’useful’** person must first be a moral, virtuous person. What good is all the knowledge in the world if he isn’t moral? Wouldn’t he act as a traitor to the Han, exactly like W. Our motherland raised her up, developed her talents, and now she stabs it in the back! A ‘genius’ like her is one that did not succeed to learn moral behavior or have any integrity. She grew up overdosing on the emphasis to succeed on academics alone. She is like a robot who can’t tell right from wrong. Whomever can control her, command her to think whatever. Her lack of autonomy is why she has acted against us.

There is an old Chinese saying, “One must be a good person before he can accomplish great things” ***. How can someone think of doing before he has learned how to be a good person. The next generation represents the future of China, our children have the responsibility of further building up and protecting our country. This next generation doesn’t just need cultural knowledge, more importantly we must cultivate in them the correct worldview. This sort of education must begin when children are young and no time cannot be lost in their teaching. It will be near to impossible to change their views if we leave off this education until after their thinking has set.

Parents and educators in today’s education put too much importance on the knowledge, neglecting to cultivate our children’s morals. This is incorrect. Knowledge adds to our intelligence, but only moral and character education can make an intelligent person become truly educated****. W is not an idiot, we can count her as an intelligent person. However, she has chosen the wrong path because her intelligence has had received the right guidance in shaping her thinking. This is a classic case of when moral and character education has failed.

From this case, we can see that we cannot neglect a child’s moral and character education. We must teach them to be morally-upright, to have a compassionate heart, to be able to tell right from wrong. We cannot continue to rely on an education that only pours knowledge into a person and neglect the thought maturity of the child. W’s betrayal has sounded a warning for the education of the Chinese people; she has reminded us that we must continue to teach a child to be moral even as they learn facts. Only a child who has both kinds of training can become a truly great and useful person.


‘de’ is untranslatable in a literal form. It has no true word to word correspondence. For more debate on ‘de’, read Confucius and other Chinese classics in some order.

Sixiang daode pinzhi – literally, the quality of thought, character, and morality. I’ve translated it as Moral and Character education. Again, one of those untranslatable references.

*sixiang pinde – literally translated, the Moral Character and Integrity of Thought
**youyong – literally useful, possibly talented??
***zuo shi xian zuo ren, literally one must first be a person before he can do things
****gao shang – can be translated as high class or…possibly elegant?

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Thanks for the translates :)
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