Ungentlemanly conduct?

Female news anchor sparks debate about Chinese men


Liu Xin: baggage claim

In May CGTN anchor Liu Xin was hailed as a strong woman who defended China’s national dignity in a live debate with Fox Business TV anchor Trish Regan (see WiC455).

Today she has been labelled a “giant baby” for complaining that no men came forward to help her with a heavy piece of hand luggage on a recent flight.“If my son and I see a woman carrying something heavy I will tell him to help. Those who don’t care about others are ugly, no matter how rich they are,” she wrote on weibo. (The ‘rich’ comment was probably a reference to the fact she and her fellow travellers were not in economy class).

Liu’s comments went viral – generating over 150 million views before she took them down. “This is serious princess syndrome,” wrote one netizen.“If she wanted help she should have asked. No one refuses if they are asked,” commented another.

‘Giant Baby’ became a popular buzzword last year when psychologist Wu Zhihong wrote a hugely popular book arguing that Chinese people have the emotional maturity of a six month-old.

According to Wu’s controversial analysis, Chinese people rarely progress past the oral stage of Freudian development – that is to say, zero to one year-old. Infants in this stage live in symbiosis with their mothers and don’t have a strong sense of where they end and others begin. They think others are responsible for their emotional well-being and don’t recognise anything between the two extremes of good and bad.

The overbearing nature of Chinese families and the Chinese state fosters this mentality, he claimed.

“In our country, everyone is being asked to ‘obey’. Listen to your parents at home, listen to the teacher at school… listen to the government. We live according to the will of others, our life skills don’t get burnished which means that people cannot mature,” he told website The Initium.

The latest debate touched too on where the line is drawn between women being treated as equals and more traditional expectations of men behaving as ‘gentlemen’.

After Liu’s rant Sina Weibo ran a survey asking whether “men should take the initiative to help women with their luggage”.

Almost 70% of men said they were happy to assist – but they needed to be asked first.

Others pointed out that the only reason Liu’s bag was heavy was because she had packed it that way.

One popular female biologist Yan Ning took to weibo to call Liu out on her traditional attitudes, with Yan explaining that she carries all her own equipment and conducts her field experiments alone.“I never thought of finding a man to help,” she chided.

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