Honor, Chinese Style (in three parts)

We were visiting General Yue Fei’s tomb in Hangzhou. Hundreds of Chinese tourists were there. It was early October 2008. This was our third trip to the city in ten years, and I was watching people spitting on the kneeling, life sized metal statues of men dead for more than eight centuries. Those metal effigies with their hands tied behind their backs had been traitors.

It may be difficult to understand what honor means to of the Chinese people if one isn’t Chinese. One way to possibly understand the importance of this concept is to examine two of China’s historical moral heroes.

General Yue Fei died on January 27, 1142. He was a famous Chinese patriot and military general who fought for the Southern Song Dynasty against the Jurchen armies of the Jin Dynasty.

Several, jealous Song ministers lied to the emperor saying that Yue Fei was planning to kill him and take over. The emperor believed these lies and had General Yue Fei executed. When the truth came out, Yue Fei became a model for loyalty in Chinese culture. By spitting on those statues of those ministers that lied, the Chinese honor Yue Fei’s memory.

Learn about China’s Invisible White Elephants

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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12 Responses to Honor, Chinese Style (in three parts)

  1. […] honor China lost during the 19th and early 20th centuries to the bully tactics of aggressive Western […]

  2. […] To honor these heroes further, the Chinese recovered some of the bomber’s parts and used them as a centerpiece for a museum in Xing’an, about four hours from the crash site. […]

  3. […] you want to learn more about Confucianism, I suggest reading honor, piety and face Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Smoking GunWhen China SpeaksHonor, […]

  4. […] “face” interested you in the last three posts, you may want to read about piety and honor. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Honor Chinese Style – Part 3The First of all […]

  5. […] men. If learning about “face” interests you, you may want to read about piety and honor. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The First of all Virtues – Part 3Aa Lalu […]

  6. […] The next post will focus on the meaning of face to most Chinese mothers. If learning about “face” interests you, you may also want to read about piety and honor. […]

  7. […] The honor China lost during the 19th and early 20th centuries to the bully tactics of aggressive Western powers and Japan during World War II is being reclaimed. For more than two thousand years, China was a regional super power.  It seems they have achieved that status again. […]

  8. […] the Chinese have a morality (honor and piety) that is equal (if not better) to Christianity and Islam without the need to convince […]

  9. […] site and Chinese tourists pay honor to these Americans by leaving flowers and other gifts.  To honor these heroes further, the Chinese recovered some of the bomber’s parts that were used as a […]

  10. […] I’ve written about piety and what it means to the Chinese, and I’ve written about heroes from China’s past that the Chinese still honor. Now I’m going to write about some of […]

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