Cultural China: Modern paragon of filial piety praised
TIANJIN, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Jiang Weiwei, 41, boils two pots containing Chinese traditional medicine every morning. She has been doing this for nearly three years for her mother-in-law, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
"My mother-in-law has to take the bitter medicine every day. Sometimes, I give her a candy to relieve the bitterness," said Jiang, who works in her community as a cleaner in north China's Tianjin Municipality.
Over the years, Jiang has endured a lot. Her son was born with cerebral palsy, stroke left her father-in-law paralyzed and her husband slid into depression under mental pressure. Jiang has to support the whole family.
"My daughter-in-law has filial piety. She looks after the whole family. I'm very moved to have such a good 'daughter'," said Zhang Shuqing, Jiang's mother-in-law.
"This is what I should do. Respecting and caring for the elders is a traditional virtue that everyone should inherit. I learned from my elders, who were also very filial to their parents," said Jiang, who was selected as a national ethical role model in 2015.
The traditional Chinese virtue, filial piety, has been passed generation by generation in China. Thousands of years ago, an ancient emperor also cared for his mother with filial piety.
One idiom entitled "Qin Chang Tang Yao," tells that Liu Heng, an emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 25), constantly and untiringly looked after his mother who was sick for three years.
Liu would boil herbs, take a sip to make sure it was fit to drink and spoon-feed the medicine to his mother despite his busy work. His filial piety earned praise.
The story is among the 24 Filial Exemplars, a classic text of Confucian filial piety that has been passed on since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), showing filial piety.
The 24 Filial Exemplars were also recorded on traditional Chinese Yangliuqing woodblock paintings, one of the most popular forms of New Year decorations in China, which flourished in Tianjin and the surrounding areas during a period between the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The printings contain abundant themes and content, especially traditional Chinese virtues such as filial piety, harmony and benevolence. Many of the stories described in these prints remain widely read and promoted in China.
Chinese leadership has stressed the importance of family virtues and traditions, calling for respecting and caring for the elderly. Enditem