Principal of Peking University kneeling down to his mom on her 90th birthday arouses controversy


Netizen “Laoluo”(老锣) posted an forum post with the title of “deep bonds between mom and son”, which is about Zhou Qifeng, Principal of Peking University, knelt down in front of his mother at her 90th birthday celebration in Liuyang, Hunan. This incident trigged heated discussion among netizens. There were total 8 photos with the caption: July 14th, Zhou Qifeng, President of Peking University and academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, knelt down to thank his mother, Wu Meihua, for raising him, on Wu’s 90th birthday party, in Shangfu Village, Longfu Town, Liuyang City. The Mother said, “My son, you suffered a lot when you were in school since our family was poor then.” The Son replied, I did not come home on your 80th birthday because I was too busy at work, I am sorry…”

Laoluo said he was one of the villagers who attended old Mrs. Zhou’s 90th birthday party. And all guests not only did not need to give “red envelope (gift money)”, but also got gifts when they left. “Many people were moved to tears when Zhou Qifeng knelt down.” He recalled. After lunch, they all sat in the front yard to watch a video prepared by Zhou Qifeng. The video included a photo of Zhou Qifeng’s family when they were young, and it also covered how difficult it was for his mother to raise four kids. When Zhou was a kid, his family was very poor and heavily in debt. His mom and he picked tree barks on the hilltop for sale. They needed to walk tens of miles in the mountains everyday in order to collect enough tuition fees for all kids.

“Zhou Qifeng said in the video that the greatest regret in his life was that he could not accompany his mother on her 80th birthday due to work. His mom did not blame him, instead, consoled him that ‘you belong to the country, and should put country’s matters in priority’. Zhou Qifeng said although he celebrated her birthday on another day, he still felt ashamed and guilty.” NetizenLaoluo said, after the video, Zhou Qifeng suddenly knelt down by his mom’s knees and they hugged and cried together for about 5 minutes.









Some commentary about this incident from sina:

Some were moved by such act and praised Zhou a filial son. Considering Principal Zhou Qifeng’s previous acts, some netizens still believed his kneeling down before his mom was just some publicity stunt and suspected that he took his moms as a prop.

The phrase “sense of disharmony” (违和感) comes from Japanese, and it can express the meaning of “not right, problematic”. Sense of disharmony means a sense of detachment arising from discord with and failure to merge into the surroundings.

The photo demonstrated such a sense of disharmony. No matter whether the people holding professional video equipment were journalists, they, together with the girls in black sun-glassing sitting beside the President’s mom, constituted the “disharmonious” elements in the photo, and made the photo deliver not only warmth, but, to a greater extent, a sense of absurdity. After the incident, these photos were uploaded on the internet systematically, and further diluted the touching feeling towards President Zhou’s filial act.

Zhou is a University Principal, which could be counted as a high-ranking official in China. There are always a huge amount of flatterers around officials, and they would praise whatever trivial things done by the officials.

This reflects the deep-rooted bureaucratic culture of China. No matter what officials do, be it a simple bike ride, or having fast-food with some ordinary people, and no matter how scarcely they do it, they are sage and moral models, which should be highly praised.

Only in today’s society with increasing civil rights awareness, more diverse and more liberal thinking, people already became numb about officials or their subordinates putting up shows, moreever some “acts” are so "unprofessional”! Therefore, it is no surprise that there are many sarcastic remarks regarding such an act – Principal of Peking University knelt down to celebrate his mom’s birthday.

  1. It might have been a planned publicity stunt on the part of the president and his entourage, but I doubt his elderly mother was clued in on his true motives.

  2. There are cynics who say they think the Principal is feigning, or faking, or ‘performing’. Such observations tell us more about the personality of the cynics who voice them than about the Principal.

  3. It may be just respect for family and for the elders.

    Unlike us here in Canada where we just shoot at anybody on the streets.

    Look at this…………………………………………………………………………

    ‘This is the safest city in the world’

    Earlier in the day, Ford stressed Toronto’s safety at an impromptu news conference in Scarborough.

    He called three high profile public shootings that took place in Toronto in less than two months are really “a couple of isolated and unfortunate incidents.”

    Ford said then that everyone has to move on with their life.

    And theToronto police are concerned about possible retaliation in the wake of one of the worst incidents of gun violence in the city’s history, which left two people dead and another 23 wounded.

  4. I don’t care if it were planned. Any expression of love towards elderly mothers that’s publically seen is a good thing, especially if it inspires talk about our parents or even moves others to do the same.

  5. Oh China, China, China!!!
    It’s a son loving his elderly mother!
    Can’t it just be left at that!

  6. That is the feeling which men, raised up in a Chinese village, always have for their parents. During the suffering 60’s of China, it is love which make Chinese people survive.

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