neo-confucianist administration in guangming?

Today, I’m translating an open apology from Liao Tianye, a young official in the Guangming New District Management Committee (新区管委会) to his parents. In the letter, Liao Tianye expresses his remorse for abusing his parents. Frankly, the letter seemed to me a strange twist on Shenzhen’s ongoing Neo-confucian propaganda campaign; yes, the Municipality is striving to cultivate Neo-confucian ethics in officials and businessmen. But, public apologies for unfilial behavior? Caught me off guard. More prosaically, I’m wondering at the level of abuse, the context in which “abuse” was identified, and how it came to the attention of the Management Committee. Also, in the ongoing turmoil of Chongqing revelations, I’m also wondering about the political culture of holding meetings for self-criticism, which we all remember was one of the key features of Cultural Revolutionary tactics.

Letter of Regret

First, I want to use this letter to express my deep regret to the parents who raised me under such difficult conditions! To the school that formed me and the work unit that has consistently cared for me, I also apologize for any negative effects from my actions! At the same time, I also sincerely apologize for the emotional pain that my actions have caused the public!

I was born into a farmer household, but lived for many years outside the village to complete my studies. After graduating college, I immediately married and our child is now 9 months old. Pregnancy and birth debilitated my wife’s body and she became depressed. During the day, I went to work and at night I came home and still had to care for our child, exhausting both body and mind. In addition, my parents’ traditional ideas of childcare and my own are very different, and I don’t have enough experience handling family conflicts. Nor was I prepared for the contradictions between wives and mother-in-laws. Together it resulted in disputes with and anger at my parents, leading to serious consequences.

These past days, I have consistently engaged in deep reflection and self-criticism. This event has been a deeply painful life lesson, which also negatively impacted my household, work united and society. I will learn from my mistakes and become a citizen who takes responsibility at work and in society.

I hope that everyone will give me a chance to turn over a new leaf!


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