Hunan School Demands Wedding Presents From Teachers, Otherwise Penalties Will Follow

A local school in China’s Hunan province stirred controversy when they issued a formal announcement saying that teachers are required to give out presents to the school staff in case of weddings or funerals, or else they will be penalized.

Teachers and employees at a school in Xiangyin county, Hunan, were unpleasantly surprised when they received an official notice stating they are required to “participate in social relations” (人情往来) and give out presents to school staff in case of a family wedding or funeral (红白喜事).

If they would not adhere to this rule, the notice said, an amount of 100 yuan (±14$) would be deducted from their salary.

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The notice, that was issued on January 1st, was soon exposed by netizens and picked up by local media.

It literally states that if anyone from the school staff has a wedding of funeral within their direct family, all teachers are required to participate (indirectly meaning they have to give a present/money), or else they will receive less salary.

The official notice states that those who do not agree are considered “unreasonable in dealing with people” (不通人情).

According to Beijing News, the rule has been canceled on January 4th, soon after it was shared on social media. The school principal stated that he was not aware of this notice and that the staff office had issued it without his consent. The school is currently “investigating the matter.”

“Ha! They kidnap your wages without consulting first!”, one netizen responded to the issue. “Poor teachers,” another person said: “They have to educate others but have a brainless leadership.”

It is tradition to bring monetary gifts to Chinese weddings and funerals – not just as a way of wishing luck to a new couple or console a grieving family, but also to help the family pay for the costly ceremony.

“Giving monetary gifts is something between people, not up for the school to decide,” some people say.

Another female netizen says: “Chinese social relation etiquettes are so troublesome! I was only working for this company for a month when my boss’s parents passed away. Then my colleague’s mother-in-law passed away. I had to attend the funeral and felt so awkward because I was not feeling sad at all!”

– By Manya Koetse
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Author

About the author: Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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