尊老爱幼 Respect the Aged and Care for the Young
It is a fine tradition of the Chinese nation to respect the aged and love the young. For thousands of years, people have always considered it a social responsibility and behavioral norm to respect the aged and care for the young. Mencius in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC) said that one should respect the elderly relatives of other people as one's own, and take good care of others' children as one loved one's own. In China, a person who ignores these moral tenets will not only be criticized by public opinions, but also punished by law.
Huang Xiang of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) treated his father with filial respect from childhood. In order to let his father sleep more comfortably, he cooled his sleeping mat with a fan in summer and warmed the quilt by himself in winter. When the mother of Emperor Wendi of the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD) was ill, the emperor would taste the decoction of medicinal ingredients and then carry it to his mother himself. As early as the Han Dynasty, the government issued orders many times advocating and encouraging and rewarding behavior related to treating the old with filial respect. At that time, the government distributed a kind of walking stick to those over 70, and those with the stick could get special treatment and care. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD), when Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong reigned, they held large-scale activities to show respect for the aged; each time, the emperor held a banquet for more than 1,000 men aged 65 and over in his palace.
The Chinese people treat their offspring with love and education, with kindness and strictness, embodying a strong sense of moral responsibility. A number of books on educating children left by ancient men, such as Advice to My Son and Parental Instruction, are precious tracts on moral education. The famous story Mencius’Mother Moved Three Times shows the great stress laid on educating children. When Mencius was young, his mother was afraid that the chaotic surroundings of their house would have an unfavorable impact on his growth, and thus moved three times. Only when they finally moved close to a school was her mind at rest.
The tradition of respecting the old and caring for the young has been carried forward in modern times. At present, the old and the young in China have their own legal holidays- Elders' Day and Children's Day. The government has promulgated specific laws to protect women and children; and the law also stipulates in explicit terms that Chinese citizens have the obligation to support parents and rear children.