Yu Dan's Comments on Haze Create Controversy

February 25, 2014
Editor: Sophia Zhu
Yu Dan's Comments on Haze Create Controversy
Renowned scholar Yu Dan on February 23 published a comment on haze on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, stating: "All we can do is not to confront it directly," causing a huge controversy online.[baidu.com]
Renowned scholar Yu Dan on February 23 published a comment on haze on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent to Twitter, stating: "All we can do is not to confront it directly," causing a huge controversy online.

Some people praised the "positive energy" of Yu's message, but many other people feel impatient about this "chicken soup for the soul" type of tweet, and realise that Yu’s approach lacks pragmatism towards a situation that is eminently solvable. In addition, many people argue that pollution is a serious public issue, and Yu Dan is using her "chicken soup/self-help" style to make it into a personal experience.

Yu Dan, a professor at Beijing Normal University, is popular for her lecture "Thoughts on the Analects of Confucius" on the CCTV program "Lecture Room", given from a woman's exclusive and exquisite point of view. Yu Dan also uses colloquialisms through her lectures, making them easier to be understood.

Yu published a message on the haze in Beijing, "All we can do is try not to go out, all we can do is not to confront it directly. Shut the doors and windows, try not to let the haze into your house; turn on your air purifier, try not to let the haze into your lungs; If this is no use, only rely on your own spiritual protection, to prevent letting the haze into your heart."

This message soon attracted attention and many people questioned the misuse of traditional culture. Traditional Confucius Culture does teach people to obey and try their best to fit in, but not always. Wang Yangming, a renowned Confucius scholar during the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644), emphasized that in the face of the unfavorable, what we should do is more than merely express tolerance towards the situation, but find a unity of knowledge and translate this into action.

Pollution is such a serious political and social issue, and Yu Dan's comment is tuning it into a private experience, enabling those who could affect change an opportunity to evade accountability.

Yu Dan has not yet responded to any of these comments.

Yu Dan is famous for writing "self-help" type speeches, and this is not the first time her speeches have sparked controversy.

A college student presented a problem to Yu Dan, that he had a lot of friends frequently visiting him, and he didn't know what to do about the spiraling cost. Yu replied that the fact that he lives in Beijing, with a stable job and has so many friends means he has something. Some have found this statement to be a reasonable response, but the students was actually seeking help on how to solve his money problems, Yu had merely offered meaningless platitudes which, while nice to hear, didn’t actually solve any of the student’s problems.

Many people said they could not accept Yu Dan's philosophy of only teaching people to be patient about everything. "People should not be a submissive in life."

(Source: sohu.com/Translated by womenofchina.cn)

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