China Family Values Superior to United States Values?
The Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchanges are going to close so that families can spend a few days together remembering their ancestors and cleaning the graves of their family members who are dead.
Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) will have the following schedules:
The SSE will close from April 3 (Sunday) to April 5 (Tuesday) and open for trading on April 6 (Wednesday). It will also close on the weekend on April 2 (Saturday), according to a statement on its website Friday.
Meanwhile, the SZSE will close for trading between April 2 and April 5 and open for trading on April 6
The exchanges will be closed for two weekend days and two business days in order for China families to get together. But this isn’t the biggest family holiday of the year. The biggest is what the west knows as Chinese New Years, which is actually The Spring Festival. The Spring Festival is the largest single migration of humans back to their families in history and it occurs every year.
The stock exchanges are closed FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK for Spring Festival. When is the last time Wall Street closed down for a week? When is the last time Wall Street closed down for a single day dedicated to the family?
Chinese New Year’s Eve, a day where Chinese families gather for their annual reunion dinner, is known as Chú Xī (除夕) or “Eve of the Passing Year.” Unlike the New Year’s celebrations of the west to party at midnight, this holiday is dedicated towards bringing the family together. Chinese from around the globe spend two to three weeks traveling back to and spending time with their parents and family.
I am seeing, first hand, the focus that Chinese place on their families and it is something that is strange and unusual to my American senses. I was taught that they didn’t care about their children, that they despised daughters, and that family was just a way to make money. None of this is true. Yes, in a population of 1.3 billion people you can find all traits of humanity both good and bad. Yes there have been abuses against women and children, but then again I see the same abuses in the United States, just on a smaller scale due to the smaller population. The dedication Chinese people have towards their families is impressive.
As a side note, I also knowledge that the Chinese government made a harsh choice in limiting the number of children for poor families to only one child and making rich families pay to have a second or third child. While it was an unthinkable choice in the minds of many Americans, in the end it saved a catastrophe. Some estimates show that China may well be over 2 billion people by now if they did not instill that policy. By doing so they saved the food supply of the entire nation.
What about America? A holiday to remember your family history and to get together to care for the burial places of your ancestors is a great way to instill value within a family. A holiday that lasts for weeks each year that is focused on bringing the family back to their roots, and back together with all their relatives is a great way to establish family bonds. All of our holidays in America celebrate heroes and victories, but what do we have that focuses on the family? Thanksgiving? No that is a celebration of the Pilgrims and the start of our country. Christmas? No that is a religious celebration about a god. Easter? No, that is another religious holiday. We don’t have a holiday for the family. We don’t have a holiday that focuses on the family at all.
Only since living in China have I realized that most of what I was taught in the United States about China, Chinese government, and Chinese society ranges from partly wrong to completely wrong. I was aware of my education being slightly skewed from the information I have found about WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War and of course the Gulf War. What I didn’t realize until now is that our educational system attacks other cultures. America is all about winning, even when we are not #1. That isn’t the kind of winning that i like or respect. Maybe its time to get back to core values of winning ONLY when we are truly #1. Maybe we can start by getting rid of a hero holiday and replacing it with a holiday for what is important….the family.