According to the South China Morning Post, citing Chinese media Liaoshen Evening News, a video of a teenager showed a girl kneeling before a Confucius statue, crying for not doing well on her test.
The footage was taken in Foshan city, Guangdong province. The man who recorded the video, named Chen, told the outlet that he heard the girl saying she regretted and felt guilty for not doing well in the test, which could disappoint her parents and make them lose face.
The incident sparked a heated online debate about parents’ pressure on their children over academic achievements in China.
In China’s culture, parents often put their hope in their children’s success, particularly in academic achievement. The children then feel high pressure to fulfill their parents’ wishes.
Parents and children often worship in front of a Confucius statue as a good luck token before important tests and exams.
Confucius is seen as one of China’s greatest educators. His teachings and philosophy heavily impacted China and East Asia culture and remain influential to this day.
The footage has attracted 7.8 million views on Douyin and 110 million on Weibo. Many internet users left comments showing their sympathy for the girl.
The South China Morning Post translated one comment with 33,000 likes, reading: “I have an opinion that may get attacked online. I think this girl felt guilty for her parents quite possibly not because she is filial towards them or respectful, but because her parents put excessive pressure on her. They have possibly imposed their unachieved dreams on their kid and told her they would do something if she had low scores. I once met a mother who threatened her child if he did not achieve a score higher than 600 in the gaokao, she would commit suicide by jumping from a high building.”
One of the most intense exams that Chinese students face is China’s university entrance exam or Gaokao. The exam is one of the most competitive in the world and is hosted every year.
The Guardian cited a 2014 study claiming that Gaokao contributed to 93% of cases in which school students took their own lives.