At a Nov. 18 education conference held in Shanghai, Yu lambasted a group of middle-aged Chinese women who were filmed enthusiastically snatching up free food at the China International Import Expo held earlier this month.
“… they grabbed up handfuls of stuff and shoveled it in their [expletive] mouths, and [expletive] took stuff off the table to carry away in their bags, with foreigners right [expletive] there looking at them. …” Yu lamented. “Chinese women have completely ruined China.”
Yu’s remarks provoked angry backlash from netizens. Some noted that men were also in the crowd of people taking free food.
Yu Minhong, the 56-year-old founder and president of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., is the richest educator in China, owning approximately $2.6 billion. More than two thirds of Chinese international students currently in the United States and Canada have taken English classes with New Oriental, according to Forbes.
Yu soon apologized for his remarks on Nov. 20, when he spoke at a meeting of the All-China Women’s Federation, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the state-run China News reported.
In the speech, Yu said he “failed to recognize the fact that both men and women should help shoulder responsibilities” and that he would make sure to “create a corporate culture of equality between men and women within New Oriental.”
Later, Yu made a post on China’s Twitter-like blogging service, Weibo, saying that “the moral level of women represents the moral level of the country” and that “men take their cue from the values that women hold. If women only have eyes for money, then men will only focus on making a fortune. … If women are strong, then men and the whole nation will be strong.”Yu Minhong, founder and chairman of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., speaks during he receiving an interview on June 28, 2015 in Chengdu, Sichuan province of China. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
Many found Yu’s speech to be laden with verbose communist ideological parlance, rather than a genuine attempt to make amends.
“Our country is falling apart because there are too many men like you,” one netizen wrote.
Another asked rhetorically: “the rise or fall of a nation is up to its women? Then what are men good for? Decoration?”
The destruction of traditional Chinese family values, first by the CCP’s ideological fanaticism, and then the rapid, unbridled economic growth of recent decades, has become a topic of great concern in public discourse.
There is a strong public sentiment that particularly after the end of political reforms following the June 4 Massacre in 1989, many ambitious Chinese gave up on idealistic or moral pursuits, instead stopping at no ends to make money and show off their wealth.
A common saying goes, “we belittle the poor, but not the whores.”
Liuliu, the pen name of a contemporary Chinese writer living in Singapore, wrote in response to Yu Minhong: “China can be considered a civilized country when Chinese don’t change their wives immediately after becoming rich or powerful.”