Third Session
10th National People's Congress and
Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

Chinese 'Thanksgiving Day' Proposed to Boost Interpersonal Harmony

A member of China's top advisory body has proposed a Chinese Thanksgiving Day, a public day to boost harmony among the people.


"I think such a holiday will remind the children of their parents' attention and love and teach them how to be thankful and considerate to their elders," said Chen Wanzhi, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), during a panel discussion on Tuesday. "It will also remind the adults to be more caring and tolerant of others."


He said some college students have proposed their own "Thanksgiving Day", a time to voice affection and gratitude to their parents, teachers and friends. "I think it's a very good idea."


The advisor from the southwestern Chongqing Municipality proposed the Chinese celebrate their own Thanksgiving on the Western Father's Day. "We can encourage the children to help their parents with housework on that day so that they can understand their parents better and learn to care more for others."


It constitutes part of the Chinese national character since ancient times to stay thankful and ready to repay others' kindness, acknowledge Chen. "We need to preserve the good quality in the present-day society."


China's one-child generation, as the center of their family life, are increasingly taking their parents' love for granted, said Chen.


"Heavy school assignment load and intense competitions for higher learning also caused some youngsters to be apathetic and indifferent to others' feelings," he added, "and the same is true in the adult world."


The proposal has been commended by many citizens in Beijing. "For the children, to be grateful is the first step towards filial piety," said a Beijing-based engineer who gave only her surname as Lei.


"I think it's a very good idea, as the holiday will be another ideal opportunity for family union with their parents," said Mr. Liu, whose parents are not living in the same city.


But some people have questioned to what extent a holiday can really boost harmony. "Not all social issues can be solved with a holiday," said Prof. Zhou Xiaozheng of the Beijing-based Renmin University of China. "We have to carry out research and analysis before making a proposal."


A Beijing school teacher said it is equally important to boost the young people's respect for the traditional culture, instead of blindly following Western concepts. "Even if we have a so-called 'Thanksgiving Day', we should underline its Chinese characteristics," said Li Deqiang, an English teacher with Beijing No. 5 Middle School.


(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2005)


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