A highly unique culture which continues to gain influence over the world at large, at this point, it is nearly impossible to explore any home without finding a plethora of items bearing the label, “made in China”. Indeed, an underrated superpower of sorts, although various elements of Chinese culture is constantly and unfairly mocked by many (as many foreign cultures are) we all must admit that we have all benefited from Chinese culture at some point in our lives.
However, I’m not pretending to understand it in the least. In fact, many of the customs and pastimes that have become common parts of Chinese culture, many are totally baffled by. Indeed, many of the things that are said to be ingrained in the fabric of Chinese culture, are considered crazy and cringe-worthy to many people across the globe. But, in the age of (dis)information, it can be difficult to discern fact from fiction. In fact, living in the age of Trump, I think many of us have realized that the ability to spot “fake news” and “alternative facts” can be much harder than it seems. Of course, the country has plenty of lovely and praise-worthy customs. However, they will likely bore you to tears. That said, I recently took a closer look at Chinese culture to find some of the most shocking and awesomely cringe-worthy customs. The following is a closer look at 15 such customs. But be advised, this list is neither for the faint-hearted nor the weak stomached.
15. Kids And Adults Are Sent To Internet Addiction Boot Camp
On the flip side, although internet addiction is often viewed as either a joke or an incurable pandemic, the country of China is taking this matter very seriously. However, perhaps the most shocking part about this is that people are often sent against their will. As a means of fighting off this new addiction, younger people are often sent by their parents or families, to force them into kicking their internet habit once and for all. Children and adults ranging from age 8 up to age 30 are routinely sent to these camps to deter their internet obsessions. And to be clear, it is really operated like a boot camp. The average day consists of waking at 5 am, physical training, lunch, nap time, ethics lessons, war movies (hooray), dinner, and bed. Although the overall effectiveness remains to be seen, officials assert that the intense physical training coupled with the lack of internet access is enough to cure this addiction for good.
14. Urine Eggs (AKA Virgin Boy Eggs)
Possibly one of the most gag-worthy customs known to man, some areas of China view urine eggs as a delicacy. Also known as “virgin boy eggs”, the eggs are named this because they are literally boiled in the urine of young virgin boys. A practice that is said to date back many centuries, while no one can say for sure why they seek out the urine of young boys, in particular, it is said that the Chinese culture has experimented with many ways of preserving foods over the years, and, at one point, eggs soaked in tea were also a prominent thing. Either way, they actually seem to be ahead of the urine-drinking trend as many scientists have changed their stance on the toxicity of urine and a variety of non-Chinese people have recently taken to the practice of drinking their own urine as a means of staying healthy. Moreover, although we may be grossed out by this notion, we should keep in mind that, in some areas of China, eating these eggs is viewed as a time-honored tradition of Chinese culture.
13. The Kingdom Of Little People
For those who have achondroplasiaphobia (a fear of little people) this might be the most horrifying example of all. Located in Kunming, Yunnan, this place features comic performances by little people with dwarfism. Requiring employees to be less than 51 inches tall, all of which, are provided with a nearby dormitory to live in, the actors pretend to live in tiny dome-shaped houses whilst performing. However, as crazy as this sounds, it seems that the supporters of this park are well-intentioned. Pointing out that this park helps to support a demographic of people who would like be either unemployed or under-employed, the creation of this park makes perfect sense in this context. With over 100 employees, ages 19-48, the Kingdom of Little People may not be as hellish as it sounds.
12. Virginity Restoration
Although you may have recently heard mention of American women receiving restorative and/or cosmetic surgery on their…well… you know, this is vastly different from the surgeries being done in China. On the one hand, the American surgery more or less involves tightening of the muscles in order to make it feel and appear more youthful, Chinese surgery takes a different approach. Also known as a hymenoplasty, the main goal of this surgery is to artificially restore the hymen. Intended for women who are getting married for the first time, although “living in sin” is fairly acceptable in America, apparently, being a non-virgin pride is far more frowned upon in China. The goal is for the bride to experience pain and shed blood during her first experience with her new husband. Ouch.
11. Babies Boys Over Baby Girls
For those who are yet unfamiliar with the reproduction policies of China, this may make you think twice about how bad we have it here in America (although, I am certainly not insinuating that we have it good, by any means). Created in 1979 and lasting up until around 2015, the vast majority of Chinese society was held to a strict one-child policy. However, the policy did allow exceptions to this rule, which included the likes of ethnic minorities. Moreover, boy children were highly favored, which often left girl children to be partially birthed and aborted once it was discovered that she was, indeed, a girl. Furthermore, families that blatantly violated this rule were charged with hefty fines. Perhaps most horrible of all, women were forced to use birth control and get IUDs (long lasting birth control) after their first child and had to get their tubes tied after the second. The horror.
10. They Hold The Most Criminal Executions
A simply grizzly custom, China remains the top country with regards to criminal executions. Although the lack of transparency prevents the exact figures from being published, it is said that thousands of people in China are sentenced to death on the annual basis! In fact, according to Cornell Law, there were at least 2,400 executions in 2014 alone, which is equivalent to one of every 562,500 people. Furthermore, many of these executions are done before the public. However, despite the fact that they are supposed to be a deterrent to criminals, eerily, coverage of these events is actually on the decline. Whether this suggests there is something more sinister going on or that there is a revolution on the horizon remains to be seen. Either way, the possibility of being literally shot to death by one’s government is a sobering one, to say the very least.
9. People Live In Mountains/Caves
On a totally separate note, if the details of the last entry didn’t shake you, for those who are claustrophobic, consider this a trigger warning. The short of it, there is a large population of Chinese people living in caves, 30 million, to be exact. The caves, which are known as yaodong in Chinese, are typically dug on the sides of mountains and rice paper or blankets are used as a means of providing some sense of privacy. The more lavish ones include several rooms and even brick masonry. Although most are far from impressive, there are some which include high ceilings and beautiful yards, making them much more comfortable. Either way, no matter how the rest of the world may feel about it, the general consensus amongst most Chinese cave-dwellers is that they love living there and have no plans on moving to more mainstream areas anytime soon.
8. Why Use Pull-Ups When You Can Just Cut A Hole In The Pants?
This may sound like a dream or an absolute nightmare, depending on where you stand on children and their general comfort levels. However, split pants, also known as open-crotch pants, are a normal part of Chinese culture. Majorly worn by toddlers, these pants act as the Chinese counterpart to pull-ups by offering an easy way for young kids to relieve themselves whenever they feel the urge. Disguised with either unsewn seems or a hole in the buttock area, these pants make it easy for parents, as they don’t have to deal with diapers and must simply find their children the fastest place to relieve themselves. While I’m sure no one intentionally does so, this often includes parents holding their children over garbage cans. Although many younger moms have taken to the diaper, split pants still exist in abundance in this area as a nod to the country’s rural past.
7. Hocking Loogies Has Become Such A Problem That Signs Have Been Put Up
One of the most disgusting Chinese customs (thus far), although no one seems to know why some enjoy spitting and hocking up loogies in public places, this does not change the fact that this is a Chinese “thing”. So much so, that recently there have been signs posted in many areas and other efforts to convince people to stop participating in this gross custom. Either way, as the saying goes, it is far easier to build strong kids than to repair “broken” men. So, despite their efforts, it may be a few generations before this custom is completely a thing of the past. No matter how Chinese people feel about it, it has been said to be totally off-putting to tourists and thus, the authorities are pushing for an end to this behavior.
6. Widows Can’t Move On
Much like non-virgin mothers are frowned upon in China, apparently, so are widows. In fact, in some areas of China, some wives or fiancés are never allowed to move on, even if their husband dies. You heard that right! In some parts of China, rather than moving on and finding a new husband or simply living as a single widow for the rest of their lives, the widow is expected to marry the ghost of their dead husband. Also known as a “spirit marriage” these marriages occur when one or both partners have passed away. Although these are done for an array of reasons (including to continue to family line) the most cringe-worthy example occurs when the wife of the deceased marries their ghost, takes a vow of celibacy, and moves in with his family. Yikes.
5. Children Named After Events, Slogans, Etc.
Another lesser known Chinese custom involves looking to celebrities, nature, and prominent social themes as a means of finding baby names. In fact, it is fairly common for Chinese children to be named after things such as slogans, events, and much more. Given those facts, there have been approximately 3,500 children named Aoyun, or Olympics, over the past 15 years. The vast majority of these children were males, however, there were a few fortunate female babies in that bunch. While most of them were given the moniker as a first name, many others, with the surname Yun, opted to add the Ao to the beginning as a means of creating the name. Either way, there are quite a few people running around with the name “Olympics” in China. Moreover, given the state of the world, one can only wonder what types of things they will come up with in the near future. Let’s hope “World War III” isn’t one of them.
4. Tiger Bones, Bear Bile, And Rhino Horn
A country that is clearly no stranger to using exotic ingredients, items such as bear bile, tiger bones, and rhinoceros horns are used as a common ingredient in an array of foods and remedies. For instance, virtually every part of the tiger is used in China. Tiger bones are viewed as an excellent source of phosphorous, calcium, and iron, among many others. On the flip side, black bears have their gallbladder bile extracted and it is actually crystallized, as a means of providing, what is said to be, a very powerful remedy for ailments such as hangovers, liver disease, blood disorders, fevers, cancers, and much more. Lastly, rhino horns has been used for approximately 2,500 years and is used for things such as a fever reducer, anti-inflammation agent, and much more. Although America clearly isn’t a nation of vegans, it seems it may be a while before such remedies catch on here in the states.
3. Dog Meat Festival
China’s annual dog meat festival is a regular PETA nightmare. Although, in the past, Americans have joked about some Chinese people eating dog meat, many are unaware of the fact that it is true. Also known as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, this celebration is held yearly in Yulin, Guangxi, China during the summer solstice. While many places around the world condemn the festival, the practice of eating dog meat is at least a 400-year-old pastime. So, while many argue that the dogs are treated inhumanely, I might point those people to the fact that the same is said for the meat industry here in America. Personally, I hardly eat turkey hot-dogs, let alone an actual one. However, I think it’s a tad unrealistic to expect people to just up and quit eating something that they have been enjoying as a culture for over four centuries. I’m just sayin’…
2. Date Rentals
Nothing like our online “dating services”, rather than looking for a good time, the rent-a-date services in China are more for those who are looking to appease their parents. Given that so much emphasis is placed on settling down and having a family while you’re young and in good health, many younger Chinese adults feel pressure to find “the one”, especially as it pertains to showing up to familial get-togethers bereft of a significant other. Therefore, renting a date is used as a means of convincing one family that they have a steady mate or even fiancé, so as to avoid further pressure to get married. Mates can be rented for anything from an hour-long lunch, to days at a time, for things such as trips and family reunions. Although legal experts have questioned the overall morality of offering this services, it does not appear that they will be disappearing anytime soon.
1. The Government Censors EVERYTHING
It should be a fairly obvious by now (unless you live in China) that this country is one of the most heavily censored in all the “free world”. There TV programs, internet, literature, etc. is all heavily filtered through their grandiose, communist regime thus making it difficult to impossible to come across certain information. Calling on companies, organizations, and other political influencers to promote products and content that contains certain socialist values, the vast majority of the Chinese media posts things that give specific messages. Most recently, the government has taken to attacking entertainment news. So, soon the ability to do things such as keep up with the Kardashians, will be a thing of the past. That’s not right at all.
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