Chinese people, from government officials to ordinary residents, are all engaged in a recent hot wave of studying the socialist values dubbed "eight honors, eight disgraces" raised by President Hu Jintao on March 4. Some foreigners who have long lived in China also called this new set of moral code "interesting", "necessary" and "thought provoking".
Viewed from appearance, these values look just like eight pieces of rules put forward by a leader, but deeper understating reveals them as a set of values which can guide people's thinking, a Canadian expert working for a Chinese newspaper commented.
In the Chinese language the list of eight honors and disgraces reads like rhyming couplets and sounds almost poetic.
-- Love the country; do it no harm
-- Serve the people; do no disservice.
-- Follow science; discard ignorance.
-- Be diligent; not indolent.
-- Be united, help each other; make no gains at other's expense
-- Be honest and trustworthy; do not spend ethics for profits
-- Be disciplined and law-abiding; not chaotic and lawless.
-- Live plainly, struggle hard; do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures.
A sample survey by the State Statistics Bureau early this year showed that among the most concerned social problems "the general mood of the society" was the top focus of attention, which was mentioned by18.5 percent interviewees. This is related, to a large extent, with declining morals in a period of social transition during which some people are misled and unable to tell honor from disgrace, experts say.
Mr. Stelios Korkidis, Press Counsellor of Greek Embassy in China, agrees. We must admit, he said, that some Chinese youngsters are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about high-grade commodities in their daily lives. They are much influenced by western values.
In an information era, he said, people have more accession to all kinds of information but sometimes they cannot tell the good from the bad. Many televisions and magazines are vigorously publicizing luxuries as if they give superiority to their owners. While associating with some wealthy Chinese, their pride in being rich is simply apparent.
Harvey Tyler, an American who has worked over ten years in Beijing, Kunming and other Chinese cities, said that the "eight honors, eight disgraces" reminds him of Confucian thinking those essence lies in peace and harmony.
This is rich thinking boiled down from China's 5,000-year history and culture, but today many Chinese don't understand or cherish it, it's really a pity, he added.
However, Mr. Stelios Korkidis pointed out that Chinese youngsters are very earnest, just like the case in Greece. "The Chinese have a traditional attachment to family. They cherish family profoundly and respect the elder very much, which is unseen on some western youngsters."
Stelios, who have been living in China for two years, said that when he passed the Tiananmen Square he often saw many people gathering there, waiting for the national flag to be raised or lowered. "Most of them looked ordinary people, the fact that they were there voluntarily is just a demonstration of a deep sense of patriotism."
By People's Daily Online