Not For All The Tea In China

A blog describing the idiosyncracies of working and teaching in China and life on a day to day basis. With stories of unbelievable stupidity and outright ripping off of foreigners.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Hitting Women

In China domestic violence is common, sadly. In the rural areas of China it is even more common. Smacking your wife in the mouth isn't considered such a big deal. Recently whilst teaching some adult students(age 23-55)they were surprised when I told them I wouldn't hit a woman, they where really surprised that in western countries it wasn't as common as in their country.

Teaching in China your likely to see a lot of strange things, including things you don't really want to see. Recently a friend of mine witnessed a man punching and then repeatedly kicked his girlfriend while she was on the ground, by the time I actually arrived the security guard from the body was helping the man carry his unconscious girlfriend into the taxi so he could take her home. The mans friends mearly stood around doing nothing(another common phenomena in China).

So what reason did the man have to hit her? Who knows, although their is no good reason to hit a woman in my view Chinese men are really serious when it comes to loss of face, perhaps the girl had only talked to another guy or maybe said some bad words to her boyfriend making him feel he lost face. Why did no one do anything? A simple reason, in China you never know who someone is, for example it's highly likely that that group of men where Chinese mafia, or Triads if you like. Many of them go to the bars as a big group and it is wise to avoid them if you value your life, and I'm not exagerating. This could also be the reason that the guard did nothing except help the man put his girlfriend in the car.

It's common in China to see a man shouting at his girlfriend or wife in public, people usually gather round just to watch, a kind of entertainment if you will. If it esculates you can be sure no one will intervene. This is a common Chinese characteristic, 'don't get involved'. Recently I saw a taxi driver get out of his cab and then punch a fellow taxi driver in the face, upon walking past the taxi to my shock I noticed that the driver punched was a woman! Of course everyone just watched.

Sadly Chinese girls sometimes don't do themselves any favours, in arguments they really give as good as they get, often goading the guy into punching them, not a wise move when the guy is likely to lose face in public. One foreigner I heard of actually stood between a girlfriend and boyfriend arguing to prevent any violence occuring only to have the girlfriend get angry at him! The problem is domestic violence is taken rather lightly in China, it's not really considered much different to them than a verbal argument; for example in the class I mentioned above a 55 year old lawyer admitted to having hit his wife on various occasions. In the west we consider the act of hitting a woman cowardice and weak, in China they think no such thing....well at least the men don't anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone else read this.. i never see any other comments

21 December, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I do! Of course I have to write it first though.

21 December, 2006  

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