A growing mania for sinology means that increasing numbers of parents are sending their children to sinology classes to wear traditional Chinese clothes and recite classical Chinese verses.
What is the general attitude of society to this trend?
"It's probably a bad thing that where we used to disdain sinology, we are now elevating it to an ever higher position. In China, whenever people rush to follow a new trend, it immediately becomes a commercial business,"said Wenzhong Qian, professor of history at Fudan University in China. He added that this commercialization of sinology is actually detrimental to children's education.
Sinology exercises a subtle influence on our soul, and this should be its spiritual and cultural function. Such an influx of culture is like salt dissolved in water, affecting people gradually and naturally. The culture and traditions of Sinology ought to act as a source of enlightenment to people who are in need of spiritual guidance.
But attractive business opportunities have sprung up with the emerging fascination for sinology. Students of sinology range from primary school students and celebrities to CEOs, many of whom are willing to pay tuition fees that can mount up to tens of thousands of RMB. As a result, sinology has become a luxury product and a badge of wealth. While the mania for sinology bridges the gap between traditional culture and modern culture, some people are taking advantage of the commercial opportunities it presents simply for their own personal interests.
This utilitarian approach to sinology runs counter to the very principles of the subject. There can be no doubt that commercialization will do harm to the public perception of history and culture. It risks destroying reverence and respect for traditional Chinese culture, and could even threaten its very existence.
The negative consequences of this commercialization of culture are a genuine concern. We must recognize that Chinese education still lags behind the pace of development, particularly when contrasted with the level of the cultural dissemination of the 1950s. Abuse of sinology by turning it into a business will bring about the loss of a treasure that goes beyond history and tradition, and reaches into the integrity and confidence of the whole nation.