BY CHINA DAILY
Yu Minhong, founder of New Oriental Education and Technology Group, apologized for saying that the degeneration of Chinese women has led to the degeneration of the whole country－comments that have raised heated discussion online since Sunday.
“Today, when I tried to explain during a forum how the direction of evaluation determines the direction of education, I used the analogy of women’s standards in looking for a husband. Because of my poor analogy, I caused misunderstanding among netizens, about which I’m very sorry,” Yu said in a Sina Weibo post on Sunday evening.
Earlier, at an education forum in Shanghai, when talking about how the mechanisms of evaluation influenced education, Yu likened it to the criteria Chinese women use to find a mate and how that influences men and the country.
Yu, 56, said if all Chinese women are looking for men that earn a lot of money regardless of integrity, all men in China will try gain a fortune instead of having a clear conscience, which he said is indeed the current standard for Chinese women.
“Therefore, that’s why we often say that women determine whether the country is good or not. And now the degeneration of Chinese women has led to the degeneration of the whole country,” Yu said.
The comment caused a stir among netizens.
Zhang Yuqi, a Chinese actress, strongly condemned his remarks.
“An education from Peking University and the success of New Oriental Education failed to help you understand the value of women and gender equality, even the meaning of equality,” Zhang posted on her Sina Weibo account on Sunday.
Yu explained in his post that what he meant to express was that the level of women in a country represents the level of the country. Well-educated women and mothers can cultivate well-educated children.
“Men are also influenced by women’s values. If women pursue an intellectual life, men will become more intelligent. If women only have money in their eyes, men will desperately earn money and neglect spiritual cultivation. If women are strong, their men and the country will be also,” Yu said.
Yu’s apology had been reposted more than 164,000 times as of 5 pm on Monday.
A comment by Sina Weibo user Maysee, which was reposted more than 9,000 times, said: “The level of women in a country does not represent the level of a country; rather, the level of how women are being treated in a country represents the level of a country.”
On Monday, China Women’s News, the mouthpiece of the All-China Women’s Federation, also voiced its opinion in a commentary posted in its WeChat account.
“The mainstream image of Chinese women is optimistic and sincere. There are a lot of women who hold an enterprising spirit and positive values. It’s not logical to blame all women just because some gold-diggers choose a husband based solely on money. It puts the label of worshiping money on all women and denies that men are independent in their endeavors.”
Yu’s arguments－”Chinese women’s degeneration led to the degeneration of the whole country” and “if Chinese women are strong, so is the country”－are both biased and are not acceptable, the federation said.
“Women are an important force in promoting social development and progress. They shouldn’t be looked down on or looked up to but should be treated equally, which is the true meaning of respect.”
Yu Minhong founded New Oriental, an education giant of English training, in 1993. As a successful businessman and national political adviser, he is also known for his outspokenness and appeals to improve the incomes of rural teachers in underdeveloped areas.