Family Values in China

Chinese families 300Family means a lot to Chinese people. It is considered to be the most important aspect of interpersonal relationships and social communication in China. Chinese people often refer to family relationships as 骨肉之情gǔ ròu zhī qíng, 手足之情 shǒu zú zhī qíng (as inseparable as flesh and bone, as inseparable as hands and feet). Because of the traditional hierarchy values, it is essential to address each family member, especially those older than you. It is not acceptable for the younger generation to address the older generation using just their names, as it is not respectful.

Parents usually provide financial support for their children’s food, clothes and education. Children thus have an obligation to support and take care of their parents when they grow older to repay the ‘debt for giving birth and raising them’ 养育之恩 yǎng yù zhī ēn. It is taken for granted that a family need to support each other in all aspects of life. So it is not common to say ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’ or ‘please’ within the family as this is seen as placing distance between family members.

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