Loving One's Own Is Not Enough

My translation of the article:-

“The Chinese are amongst the world’s most loving parents. There are countless of them who work themselves to death for the sole aim of rearing their children into maturity. Some people say that there is a selfish motive behind such kind of love – since in China there is a lack of welfare benefits that are commonly found in the West, thus investing in a child is like investing for one’s own old age. Such saying is not entirely wrong, but if one takes this to be the only explanation of their love for their own offspring, one might risk being prejudiced. At least in my case this does not apply, because I believe that when I get old, I’ll be able to maintain my economic independence without relying too much on my child. That said, I find that my child is still the biggest target of my attention. The level of my interest in my child is higher than in any other single object. Not only do I give my very best for my child, but I sometimes even go beyond my means to give it.

Parents who are like me in fact are numerous. Protecting one’s own is only human nature; but Chinese parents who would sacrifice their own lives for their children are omnipresent throughout history. This is no doubt a moving phenomenon, but it is of little significance. Chinese people may be the world’s most loving parents, but they may also be the ones who do most harm to their children (collectively).

In the Wenchuan earthquake, child deaths number most. At one time this slogan went around loudly: the children cannot suffer more. Just when the slogan was most popular, block after block of tofu dregs schools were being built, which have ultimately turned into graveyards for countless children.

The ‘big head baby’ tainted milk incident was said to be an isolated case. But the recent Sanlu poisonous milk powder case warns us that things aren’t that simple. One official from the Guangdong Health Department has disclosed that the addition of melamine to milk powder to create fake protein content may be part of a broader high-tech fraud crime – the melamine scandal has already spread from feeds for cattle and sheep to baby milk powder. And for such tainted milk powder to be stamped with the description ‘product exempted from national inspection’! Isn’t this horrifying?

And this is not where all the problems lie. It is a well-known fact that what lies behind the Weng’an mass incident is that local vested interest groups try to abuse citizens. But people have neglected one important detail, and that is that the younger generation is down in the dumps. Children who fail their examinations have nowhere to turn to except into the embrace of gangs. Such kind of story is hardly exclusive to Weng’an.

Our children are suffering from a total collapse of the social immune system, both physically and spiritually. This is a hard fact that we cannot deny. We can do all in our power to create a safety island for our own children, but the collapse of the social immune system has caused the social virus to emerge at random. Our power at the personal level is not adequate to prevent contagion. This is the cause that has led to the above ironical situation. Despite our greatest and most unselfish love for our own offspring, we still cannot give the most basic safeguard to children at large and we still cannot prevent them from becoming the first group of victims in disasters.

It seems that nothing’s changed in the last thousands of years of Chinese history. Every generation of Chinese are willing to fight for their own children; they believe that their own sacrifice will buy a brighter future for the next generation. This belief is almost as sacrosanct as religion. But their vision rarely goes beyond the boundaries of their own courtyard. Who cares what fate awaits the children living next door? In our culture, it is totally strange for someone to call the police if a child next door is being abused. So, loving a child can only be regarded as a personal principle and cannot be elevated to a common principle level. As long as this theory holds, the social immune system targeted at children can never be improved. Such a system is bound to be full of black holes that can randomly devour innocent children’s lives.

A nation that lacks a sense of the common good cannot possibly protect all the children in society generally, and will always be saddled with a tainted conscience, or even guilt, towards them. The great and glorious love that an individual has for his children does not help at all.”