Statement that chastity is the best dowry brings to hefty debate


Chinese Society  Updated:Sun, May 26, 2013 10:21 AM   By Bernd Chang



Popular Shanghai TV show mediator Auntie Bai, or Bai Wanqing, said that "Virginity is a bride's best dowry to her husband's family." This statement incurs heated debate among Chinese. 

Popular Shanghai TV show mediator 'Auntie Bai' has claimed her comment urging young women to remains virgins until they marry was borrowed from an American.

March 10,2011,Shanghai - Auntie Bai, or Bai Wanqing, said on her television show on Oriental Television on February 27 that "Virginity is a bride's best dowry to her husband's family."



This provoked heated debate, with many people saying that Bai was out of touch with modern society, but others supporting the tough-talking mediator who is a deputy to the Shanghai People's Congress.



On her microblog, Bai explained she only meant to show her concern for a young girl in Sichuan Province who quit school because she was obsessed with a man with movie star looks.



Bai said she never thought a comment showing her pity toward the girl would prove so controversial.



She said the sentence was borrowed from an American a relative spoke to - who she could not name - and was not her own invention.



Bai told a local newspaper that she picked up the phrase after chatting with a relative who had just returned from the United States, and used it in her TV show without thinking about the consequences.



Whatever their origins, Bai's comments captured the public's interest with hundreds of people forwarding her post. Some advised Bai to learn from the incident and be careful when choosing her words on TV.



A poll on a local news website found 49 percent of participants believed that people have a right to live the way they like, and that it's neither right nor wrong to value virginity.



About 26 percent believed virginity was an obsolete notion and went against human nature, while some 24 percent of voters said people should adhere to traditional values.



The debate has spread from internet to real life. Ms. Wang Xi, a bank worker in Shanghai, told that many of her colleagues are discussing this issue during mid day rest time. "This is the first time that we talk about such topic in public. But many of my colleagues think that Auntie Bai's theory is rediculous", Wang Xi said, who is unmarried, "Chastity is very precious, and one of the most import fortune of the girls, but upgrading chastity to a dowry, appears to have gone too far."



Mr. Fan Minsheng, sexual professor of Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine University, pointed out that sexual ethics has been a important topic in the sexual education of China. "But viewpoint of Auntie Bai has been already too obsolete. It imposes requirement only on females and therefore it is unequal for the women". Fan Minsheng told that with the development of the society, the chastity problem should be analyzed in accordance with the current situation. "If sexual relationship happens under the condition that both love each other, it should be permitted. So we can not generalize different conditions."



In the face of overspread debates, Fan Minsheng indicated that chasity is a private choice, as long as both have thought carefully, others have no right to critisize them.

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