Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Chinese and Revenge

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 9, 2011

Excerpt from “The Civilization of China (Herbert Allen Giles)

As an offset against the virtue of gratitude must be placed the deep-seated spirit of revenge which animates all classes. Though not enumerated among their own list of the Seven passions–joy, anger, sorrow, fear, love, hatred and desire–it is perhaps the most over-mastering passion to which the Chinese mind is subject. It is revenge which prompts the unhappy daughter-in-law to throw herself down a well, consoled by the thought of the trouble, if not ruin, she is bringing on her persecutors. Revenge, too, leads a man to commit suicide on the doorstep of some one who has done him an injury, for he well knows what it means to be entangled in the net which the law throws over any one on whose premises a dead body may thus be found.

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