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A video showing a class in a parent-child summer camp being lectured about old-fashioned “female virtues” has cooked up a storm on China's social media. The video, which originated in the eastern city of Wenzhou, has been viewed 27 million times and attracted 50,000 comments since Sunday.|
The course mainly targets students, aged five to 18, who were taught how to follow “female virtues” of obedience to men and parents.
However, the apparent attempt to deliver adult traditional values to an audience that included "underage" children has not gone down too well with netizens who felt that some of the ideas conveyed were outdated and even dangerous.
One message was that “women must always obey the orders of their fathers, husbands and sons.” The students were taught that “never fight back when your husband is beating you, and never argue when your husband is scolding you,” “never divorce,” “never change too many boyfriends, or they will suffer retribution.”
And that's not all. The girls were advised not to dress in revealing clothes, as that can encourage rape by men. “They claimed that if a woman has sex with more than one man, she will get disease and die,” an interviewer said in the video.
In classes delivered to the parents and children, the lessons stressed filial piety (respect for elders), warning that if people don't obey their parents, they will have a difficult life.
One teacher said that “filial piety” can cure cancer and other bad things. They gave one alleged personal experience of a man who was cleared of cancer after always kneeling down to his parents and helping them clean their feet and body.
As for these distorted “virtue classes,” local police have started investigating the case.
“Lack of education, social support and legal protection for women's rights in rural areas have provided grounds for such ideology," said Xie Lihua, editor of Rural Women magazine and an expert on women issues in China, the BBC reported.
Of the 45 parents who took their children to join the summer camp, 34 have high school diplomas.
Most of the costs of the “virtue classes” are met by parents who support “traditional culture” that they hope will embed their children with an “obedient” nature.
A large number of netizens criticized the “virtue classes” as akin to a “cult” organization. "The tide of history can't be overturned. Chinese society has moved on towards gender equality. The right thing to do is to give it a laugh and forget it," one commenter Ms Xie said.
According to the investigation, the class also got support from northeast China's Fushun City, where a “virtues school” was opened in December 2017 but closed down by local government since it was deemed to have violated social morality.