[UPDATED] In China, the culture of bribery starts from childhood

Alia | September 11th, 2012 - 4:28 am

[UPDATE] It’s embarrassing to say but Offbeat China may have been punked by a fake Weibo post. A netizen under the name of 奥卡姆剃刀 wrote a lengthy piece on why the picture and story featured below was faked (in Chinese). 奥卡姆剃刀 claimed that he received a private message on Weibo from the original poster of the picture who admitted that the picture wasn’t taken on Sep. 10 and he didn’t know what’s in the bags. 

That said, it’s not uncommon to see parents “bribe” teachers for better treatments of their kids at school. Otherwise, the question of “whether one should give gifts to teachers on Teacher’s Day” won’t be on Weibo’s Top Trending list. Many of the translated comments made to the Weibo post still, to a certain extend, reflect what people think of giving gifts to teachers. The picture and the story may be fake, but bribing teachers with the knowledge of kids is a real concern in China and is one that will have long-standing demanding effects.

Ever wonder why corruption in China is so hard to crash? A recent story of a primary school kid carrying two Gucci handbags as Teacher’s Day gifts may have the answer.

September 10th is Teacher’s Day in China for the appreciation of teachers and celebrations to honor their contributions in children’s development. But nowadays, a better name for the day is probably Teacher Gifting Day.

While many parents may be at the frontline of condemning government corruptions in China, when it comes to whether their kids can get more attention and potential special treatments at school, many of them hesitate no time before deciding on whether or what “bribe” to send to teachers at their kids’ school.

On the day of this year’s Teacher’s Day, a picture of a little primary school girl carrying two Gucci bags on way to school caught the attention of many netizens. 北京号外 quoted a netizen from Shenzhen 某人在深圳  who posted the picture originally: “Sending my daughter to school this morning and so shocked to see this primary school girl carrying two Gucci bags as gifts to her teachers.” The tag of this post was “So disappointed at the society.”

Many netizens shared the same disappointment. 老高-Gary commented: “It’s never too small to learn how to bribe.” 没字 added: “Those kids who grow up receiving such educations from their parents and school won’t give a damn about bottom lines.” 青霞赫本 commented: “The social reality in China now teaches every kid that morality no longer matters. A country cannot sustain with kids growing up this way.” 三环到四环  commented: “How can someone not feel disappointed. First disappointed at such corrupted teachers. Secondly disappointed at such irresponsible parents. Kids won’t be able to tell right from wrong if growing up this way. It’s a tragedy for our society.”

What’s more shocking, many netizens left comments sharing their own experiences and tips of bribing teachers. 沈jianjian said: “My friends told me that he knew a couple of parents who shared expenses and bought a car for their kids’ teacher together. Time has changed.” 天狼之眼12 commented: “Too Gucci bags probably won’t guarantee good treatments from the teachers. Hermes may do.” 餐饮人-吴楠: “When my kid first started kindergarten, I was told to bribe teachers. I asked how much and was told a gift card of several thousand yuan per teacher.”

四子老妈子 told the story from the other side: “The truth is most parents cannot afford such gifts, but they will still send flowers and cards on Teacher’s Day. They don’t expect better treatments from the teachers, just hope that their kids won’t be in a disadvantage position without proper gifts.” 主播杨蕾 shared the same concern: “Parents of this girl’s classmates who didn’t give Guuci bags must be worried about possible mistreatments from teachers.” What does “disadvantage position” or “mistreatments” mean? 伶俐酱 gave some hint: “My friend’s daughter used to go back from her kindergarten with dirty pants all the time. After my friend gave a big red envelope [of money] to the teachers, dirt pants never happened again.”

i布龙 on the other hand,thought the little girl’s parents made a mistake by bribing the wrong way: “Whoever this little girl’s parents are, they are too naïve. The unsaid rule is to send a thank you card and then enclose a gift card. This way, no one can tell how much the bribe is. The parents in the picture let everybody know the worth of their gifts. The teachers won’t be happy about it.”

Many netizens also questioned who should be responsible for the change from Teacher’s Day to Teacher Gifting Day. 康夫球_apy thought: “Parents’ emphasis on their kids’ education leads to a booming teaching industry, which inevitably leads to corruption among teachers.” 康夫球_apy, on the other hand, questioned whether parents should be responsible, too: “Do teachers grow more greedy. Or parents spoil teachers?” 吴姬Melinda had the same thought: “This definitely has to do with over-gifting by parents.”

The story showing in the picture is so common that the question of “whether one should give gifts to teachers on Teacher’s Day” is now one of the Top Trending Topics on Sina Weibo, China’s No. 1 microblogging service. The vast majority of netizens opposed the idea of gifting on Teacher’s Day, seeing it as a way to get “special care.”

But at the end of the day, the question is whether these say-no-to-gifting netizens will choose not to give gifts when it comes to their own kids. In many cases, China, as a country, is facing the same question. When everybody is condemning government corruption, will they say no to bribes when they get into positions of power? Are people in China truly condemning corruption? Or simple complaining that they don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the system?

Related posts:

Hundreds of Sina Weibo avatars synchronized: How Anhui TV promotes their new TV show
Tree house spotted in Shanghai…and then demolished by local authority
Patriotism with Chinese characteristics: To love the country or the government?
Chinese netizens reflect on the country’s dark side over poisoning case in Fudan University
Chinese rock star Cui Jian hailed for saying no to state meida’s 2014 lunar new year show
Who rang Alibaba’s IPO opening bell?

One Response to “[UPDATED] In China, the culture of bribery starts from childhood”

  1. [...] In China, the culture of bribery starts from childhood | Offbeat China - ever wonder why corruption in China is so hard to crash? A recent story of a primary school kid carrying two Gucci handbags as Teacher’s Day gifts may have the answer. [...]

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply