Scandals tarnish esteemed professions in China

August 30, 2013 9:02 am
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Among the latest publicized cases, a primary school headmaster and a government employee in south China's Hainan Province were detained by police for allegedly sexually assaulting six female students in May/FILE
Among the latest publicized cases, a primary school headmaster and a government employee in south China’s Hainan Province were detained by police for allegedly sexually assaulting six female students in May/FILE
BEIJING, Aug 30 – A string of high-profile scandals involving esteemed professions such as teachers and judges are putting their image at stake, prompting negative associations to the once decent occupations.

Among the latest publicized cases, a primary school headmaster and a government employee in south China’s Hainan Province were detained by police for allegedly sexually assaulting six female students in May.

The events triggered widespread discussions online.

“What happened to headmasters and teachers? How many more cases have been uncovered? It breaks my heart,” said a user of China’s Twitter-like service Sina Weibo under the screen name of Xiaofu8.

“Did you guys catch up with the news? The term for ‘headmaster’ seems to turn into a derogatory term. When can it win back its fame? Whenever I hear the term, I feel bad,” read a post by Liboyuntian.

One Weibo post listed headmasters among the most shameless figures online in 2013 because “their shocking behaviours have tarnished the positive image of the term and triggered a storm of criticism.” The post has been forwarded thousands of times.

The term headmaster is not the only word that has lost its positive meaning as the wide use of social media networks has given the public a new channel to scrutinize society and voice their opinions.

The term “judges” has become a target of public sarcasm after a netizen released video footage showing four senior judges in the country soliciting prostitutes at a nightclub in Shanghai. They were later sacked.

Other words that have fallen from grace include “chengguan,” Chinese urban management officers, “master” and even “roommate.”

China’s chengguan officers are no strangers to controversy, as they are often criticized for their violent law enforcement methods for tackling non-criminal urban regulation violations. Reports of their excessive use of force, sometimes leading to death, are common to the point where the very word “chengguan” has become synonymous with violence to the public.

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