One of the major problems that take place almost everywhere around the world, in all the walks of life starting with the schools and ending with the workplace, the one problem that has recently reached the top of the danger zone is bullying. Bullying which is known as a harmful act that comes out from one individual or more towards another, in a verbal, physical or social way, leaving the victim feeling threatened and powerless. In China, with its great population, and the high percentage of people using the internet, traditional bullying is still prevalent. Read on to learn about the different characteristics of bullying in China.
School Bullying in China
Among the students in the Chinese schools, bullying is not going with the new emerging technological techniques, but it is still available in its traditional ways, the face to face bullying acts. Bullying in the schools of China does not take place among the secondary and primary students, because these age groups are usually more busy with their studies and they are being more watched over by their teachers and family members, and also the young students are too much concerned about the rules and the regulations that fell upon them from their school and family, but such acts are done by the college students, who are more free and usually doesn’t have anybody to watch over what they are doing.
In China, the college students don’t choose their classes or teachers, but they move from one grade to the other as a whole class, even the courses that they take is set by the university according to their majors, so they stay as a whole class for 4 years, and with the same classmates. Being with the same classmates for 4 years without the ability to change this fact is forming a dilemma for some students who face bullying, because they can’t just switch or change classes and leave the bully behind, since it is also difficult in China to ask for a class change and if a student try and ask, it would most probably be rejected. This does not stop at the classes only, but in the dorm rooms as well, in China they believe that it would be better for the student to live in the same environment from the time he/she enters college until the last day of the university.
One study was once done in China to measure the prevalence of bullying behaviors among Chinese adolescents, of the total 8,342 middle school students who were surveyed in four cities in the Guangdong Province, it was found that 20.83% were involved in bullying behaviors, 18.99% were victims of bullying, 8.60% were bullies themselves, and 6.74% both were bullied themselves and bullied others as well. From the behaviors that were reported to be in correlation with bullying included grade, parental caring, thinking of suicide, time spent alone per day, engaging in physical fights and sometimes running away from home.
Anti Bullying Campaigns in China
Since Canada originated the pink shirt day or the anti bullying day in 2009, it became an international event. The Canadian International school of Beijing celebrated that day by selling pink shirts and making all the students were pink as well, to show a united front for positive relationships, to show support for the students and to involve these students in taking part in some anti bullying activities.
School Bullying Stories in China
One of the stories that happened with a student in China is the 12 year old Celita Epalanga who entered a new school after moving from Angola to Beijing. With bullying being usually an act that the bully takes over because he/she sees something different in the person in front of them, whether the nationality, religion, sex or skin color, Celita stood out for the other students mainly for two things, her different skin color and her non fluent English. International schools that combines different cultures together is considered to be the perfect place for some of the bullying acts to occur, and that was what happened with Celita, Celita asked the help of her mother which is considered a powerful step, and her mother told her that not everybody has to like everybody else but respect should always be there, and that’s what helped Celita to take over and to win the love of the people in her school even the boy who once turned over to her in her 4th grade and told her that he don’t like the African people.
Another case is that of a student who is different from the other in being the son of fruit sellers in the big city Yulin and not like the other guys in his class being the sons of countryside farmers. He is also different in the way he looks, not like the other being attractive the kind that would be found among girls, but he is a small and short kind of studious person who enjoys reading books or being by himself. Living in the big city, this boy has a different perspective of life; he is more cultured, more exposed to worldly things and has been brought up with better manners than those of the country side kids. In the dorm room the boy was staying with other 6 kids who at the beginning were going well with each other, or at least willing to do so, but seeing that he was sensitive and a deep thinker, they thought he is an easy target to hurt. So they started bullying him with acts that started verbally by calling him names, and teasing him or physically by hitting him, stealing his things, and causing him harm by letting him do things that he shouldn’t, like cleaning the room after them, or paying for the electricity bill that came high because of them spending too much time on their computers. And such situations kept going until the boy decided to leave the room and not come back until late at night, he even tried to ask to change his room but the school refused or to rent something outside the dorms which was already banned.
Cyber Bullying in China
It is well known that China is the most populace nation in the world, and it is known that China even has its laws that give the right for every family to have only one child, and with experiencing an explosion in the internet use over the last decade, 33% of the Chinese children had faced cyber bullying incidents during their life, while a very small percentage were engaged in bullying acts themselves. Most of these incidents were being reported to the teachers or the parents, because as mentioned by the students parents usually take positive steps to help the victims.
Cyber bullying has been remembered worldly as an electronic way where a person or a number of people send text messages via smart phones, e-mails, or violating someone’s information on the social media websites whether through Face book, twitter or blogs, to harm another person by threatening them, or causing them harm, leaving them threatened and helpless with nothing to do. Cyber bullying can happen 24/7 it doesn’t have to be during a specific period of time like the face to face bullying that takes place in schools and workplaces.
In Beijing, according to Li Lei a professor in Peking University who said that although over time, and by students who mistake the purpose behind the internet, it does carry some benefits for them, like exploring issues of identity including the sexual ones while having anonymity. The problem is that students need to differentiate between the electronic relationships and the real ones, because in most cases they don’t. According to Professor Lei, 41.8% of the youth in China use the privacy settings on the internet which means that most of them don’t, and that only proves the point that most of the students fail to use privacy settings or apps and software that share their private information without their knowledge. Lei also said that girls always tend to be more careful about their privacy settings over the internet than boys do.
The most common form of electronic bullying acts was that of the chat room or the message board, while the other ways the Chinese youth engage in cyber bullying or other inappropriate behaviors is:
- Flaming someone
- Defaming by spreading rumors
- Pretending to be someone else
- Forwarding private information
China takes the first place in online bullying among 25 countries that a study was once done among them, where China stands next to Singapore in being the only countries in which online bullying is greater than the offline one.
Suicide has always been a way the victims of bullying consider an option, and in China the students who experienced online bullying are twice as likely to commit suicide more than students who haven’t experienced it, according to a research that was once done on the students of the Chinese schools. In China, cyber bullying is still perceived by the parents as a kind of bullying that involves physical contact.
Cyber Bullying Stories in China
One of the stories of bullying that took place in China due to the usage of internet was one of a 14 year old boy, Ding Jinhao from Nanjing who became a household name overnight after a photo revealing his signature on a Pharaonic cartouche at the Luxor Temple in Egypt went viral on the web. Ding’s personal information along with his birth date and his primary school address has become “human flesh” which is a Chinese terminology that is used to refer to a primarily Chinese Internet phenomenon of massive researching by using internet media such as blogs and forums. People immediately started searching and started insulting saying that his acts does not represent China, and shame the Chinese people, even his school website was being hacked.
Another incident was Yan Deli, a 31 year old woman from Hebei province, who suddenly saw her naked pictures spread over the internet by her ex-boyfriend who said that she is an AIDS prostitute. The fabricated article also included 200 numbers of people who slept with her. It wasn’t long after that when her full name, address, age and telephone number were available on the internet. Deli lost her job after the incident and she was always receiving abusive phone calls and threatening messages that reached to death threats.
Workplace Bullying in China
Workplace bullying is known as the repeated actions of an employer or employee directed towards another employee, which usually is delivered in some types of exploitation, manipulation, or name calling and swearing, leaving the person feeling threatened, intimidated, tormented, humiliated and dominating that person to the point of jeopardizing his/her health, safety, sanity and job. Such acts might also affect the person in completing his/her work tasks.
With the great amount of bullying in the schools of China, but on the working level it takes the second place after Belgium with the lowest rate of workplace bullying with only 40%, and according to China HR, a professional recruitment website in China, they commented that cultural differences play a great role in the low percentage of workplace bullying, as the Chinese culture is more unpretentious and humble the America and Europe.
Victims of work place bullying may suffer in different negative ways such as:
- Stress disorder
- Chronic fatigue
- Financially due to the occasional absence from work
- Low self esteem
- Feelings of shame
- Always feeling anxious
- Trouble in sleeping
Companies must provide a healthy environment for the employers, and both the employees and the employers should take steps when they suffer or witness any of the bullying acts in the company, like keeping a detailed account of every incidence of bullying such as the date and time and place, they always have to make sure to keep some documents as evidence like messages and e-mails. Employers should create a zero tolerance policy against bullying that should be part of their code of conduct. They should provide phone numbers for the victims to call, anonymously, just to find someone to talk to, and they should make meetings to discuss the awareness of bullying in the company.
An incident that recently took place in one of the company’s in China, is the suicide of a worker who was working 11 hours a day, 7 days of the week with about 1$ for each hour, the demotion left him cleaning toilets. The problem is that he was one of 10 workers who committed the same suicide in the same company. Iphone maker Foxconn has offered its workers at Shenzhen manufacturing hub in China 66% performance based pay rise as it tries to deal with the fallout from the suicides that took place there.
Workplace bullying although it is not taking a good place in China, but is still considered a serious issue that affects both the bullies and the victims, and it as well affect the giving of the company itself.