Kneeling culture resurges in China

| May 21st, 2010


From Tianya: by Li Nuoyan (李诺言)

Chinese people like to kneel, this was well-known in the 19th century. After the 21st century New Culture Movement, the dignity-trampling kneeling culture disappeared, however after last month thousands kneeling incident in Liaoning Zhuanghe, kneeling to the government phenomenon happened in Guangdong Huazhou again. It’s just it wasn’t as spectacular as last time’s thousands kneeling, only dozens of people this time. As if the repeat kneeling phenomenon became an alternative fashion, are these people’s knees so despicable? Must rely on kneeling to win the sympathy of the world in order to satisfy themselves? I really do not now, when I heard people continued to kneel, first I was shocked, and second I am still shocked. In a country where kneeling culture spread, couple of people kneel down is nothing, but continue to kneel down like this makes us worry, is it the kneeling culture rekindled, or are people falling in love with the kneeling culture from the Spring Festival Gala?

In the end of Qing Dynasty, the Qing government selected and sent a group of youth to study in the United States. Whenever the imperial government sent decrees, there students would kneel at the local pier to listen to the announcement. At that time, the foreigners felt really strange, why do Chinese people kneel down in front of a piece of paper? The students also were sensitive about losing face, so they reported this back to the imperial government and the imperial government responded immediately. So no more kneeling right? No, they continued to kneel inside of the embassy when taking the decrees. This was the deepest impression of Chinese culture left on other countries in the 19th century.

Chinese people like to kneel, no matter in which dynasty, kneeling according to the Chinese Confucius ideology is a kind of surrender. When standing on stage and everyone is kneeling below the stage, this represented power, this power in these books represented “in service” to this person, but Guangdong Huazhou villagers’ kneeling represented “helpless”, they did not kneel down to power, but for their unfair treatments. In the modern mind, there should be no such kneeling act, whether if it is to the parents or to government officials. Kneeling culture should not exist in the country that claims to have five thousand years of civilization, let alone the five thousand years of culture is still in development.

In personal opinion these people do not really crave to kneel down, the old saying goes “there are gold underneath man’s knees”, a man can kneel to heaven and earth, but cannot just kneel down to anybody for any reason, not only it loses the a man’s basic dignity, but also resurges the kneeling culture. This phenomenon is difficult for sociologists and social elites to watch. This phenomenon sets us back to the kneeling culture thousand years ago, and will virtually impact our currently culture development.

When seeing Guangdong Huazhou villagers kneeling down dressed in white with “Injustice” written on them, in the rain, the scene was exceptionally tragic, when these numbing words appeared in the news, made me thought of those ancient practices. But this phenomenon should never happen in this civilized country. What makes me most angry was the government staff who was recording the scene with a DV, I am not sure what kind of backward thinking they have, how difficult must be for modern Chinese people to kneel down, how sad is it to see these people kneeling because of injustice.

Chinese people’s kneeling can be said to have a long and profound history. Chinese people’s kneeling culture can be classified into the following two categories: willingly and forcibly. This time the Huazhou villagers willingly kneeled down. Willing to kneel also has the following, kneel to bow, kneel to thank and kneel to beg. Kneel to bow is an etiquette when lowly beings perform to the noble beings, it has the meaning of respect; kneel to thank is the highest body language for expressing appreciation, it has a commendatory sense; Kneel to beg is a kind of helplessness and surrendering, with derogatory meaning. I am going to mainly talk about the kneeling that has commendatory meanings. Chinese people like to see others kneeling down, especially the government officials love to see others kneeling down to them. They are to be carried very high, they rather fall down from it and die but still accept the kneeling. Only when there are people kneeling to them, they will secretly laugh, and it will be the same when people kneel to you too. When they kneel, it only means they must beg you, at that time you are not the “grandson” anymore, but the “uncle”. Only when you become the “uncle”, you will feel how honest and kind the kneeling is.

The reason kneeling culture is able to be revived has to do with this country’s culture. Under the influence of Chinese culture, the kneeling culture is a sub-culture. Now we observed a couple of “willingly kneeling incidents” maybe this phenomena will continue to increase, this does not mean we are moving backwards in time, it can only mean kneeling culture is surging in the modern culture. Keep laughing, in the end according to the traditional scholars’ point of view “Older the ginger, more spicy it is”, but this “spiciness” can turn this civilized country into slums.

News background:

In Guangdong Huazhou, Meizikang village’s farmland was seized and occupied by the neighbor Sizilin village, so they could no longer farm. Local government repeatedly informed the villagers to farm their land and promised protection, but conflict broke out between the two villages. Later, I am guessing Sizilin village had the “police connections”, the police brought 10 “society youth” and arrested 6 Meizikang villagers including the village chief. Subsequently, on April 22, dozens of villagers kneeled down in front of the Huazhou city Government building telling their injustice, for over one hour and no one came out, and the government said “It is useless to kneel here.”


Before this…

On April 13, thousands of people kneeled down in front of the Zhanghe People’s Government building. From 2 local villages, they came to the city government to report corruptions of the village officials. They requested the mayor to come out, but were rejected.

After the media heavily featured this news, Zhanghe city mayor Sun Ming was later fired.


11 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. elenore says:

    These people are genius.They are having peaceful protest they are bringing attention to their problem without hurting anyone and maybe getting officials and public to help.People won’t side with you if you become violent.That’s why hunger strikes were invented by the Irish Tenants when landlords threw them off land for cattle.Nothing shows injustice like a dead man on your door step then Women Right activists used it in U.K./ U.S. then Gandhi etc…How ever this get same result without people getting sick or dieing.I think this is a good way of letting others know there’s a problem and no one gets hurt and you are asking for justice.

  2. GuoBao says:

    I like the picture of the fat pig of a security guard or whatever he is filming the measly peasants. I bet he is smirking as well.

  3. Champ says:

    No one ever liked kneeling, when people have no way to express the unfair treatment they suffered, they just kneel.

  4. Wang Er says:

    I only kowtowed to my grandparents in spring festivals when I was a child and haven’t kneeled to anyone since then. In my wedding ceremony I just bowed to our parents.

    It’s hard to believe ‘kneeling culture’ returns to China. This may sound too coldblooded, but I can’t have much sympathy to protesters only because they kneeled. However they got more eyeballs from doing that and made the government losing face, which should be the real reason that their requests were fulfilled.

  5. american chinese guy says:

    chinese people like to kneel. They enjoy kissing ass and brown nosing. They know that most of them are not original, only followers and copying people. Let them kneel, it just says that they are lower than me, which is fine. I recognize them as niggers and day. Maybe instead of focusing on books and only books, they should focus on reality, and the shitty one they live in.

  6. Matthew A. Sawtell says:

    It’s true. Chinese like to kneel and beg.
    I’ve had people do this to me at my office.

    Because I am not a racist, I told the people to get up and take a seat.

  7. 刘俊逸 says:

    Im a chinese boy, I know some truthes..If you guys want to know more , hit my e-mail.

  8. Tom says:

    If they don’t kneeling down to the government ,they (officers and cops) would catch you and put in the prison . Fucking Government!

  9. Harris Leven says:

    Slaves kneel to their master. I kneel only to the Almighty Creator YHWH.

    Do not kneel to man.

    Choose whom you will serve. Thats all.

  10. Harris Leven says:

    Any culture, any man – or woman want warm bed, good food, learning. Don’t say Chinese are worse than others. I am not Chinese – but surely no one deserves to be slave. All deserve to be Free.

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