To celebrate Teachers’ Day (September 10), students in China honor their teachers with an outpouring of gifts, cards, and flowers.
As in some other areas of Chinese society, however, the line between paying respects and currying illicit favors on Teachers’ Day has become almost undetectable for some.
This year, the Chinese internet was abuzz over photos of a student carrying two Gucci bags to school, ostensibly to give as Teachers’ Day presents.
Less egregious, but no less problematic for some observers, is the common practice of giving teachers pre-paid gift cards with values ranging from 300 yuan ($47) to 1,000 yuan ($158).
The cost of Teachers’ Day gifts is now 30 to 50 times what it was ten years ago, Shanghai Daily reported.
Competition among students to give the best gifts and the greed of some teachers have contributed to the gifts becoming more and more lavish in recent years, the paper said.
“If I returned the gifts, some parents feel that I don’t like their gifts and will replace them with more expensive ones,” said one teacher.
This month, a teacher in Ninghai County (Zhejiang Province) was reprimanded and had her monthly bonus reduced after suggesting via group text that her students’ parents show their appreciation for her work by dedicating a song to her on the local radio station.
The dedications cost 100 yuan ($15) per song. The teacher said parents could save money by teaming up to purchase dedications.
Sources: Shanghai Daily, Qilu Evening News (齐鲁晚报), Modern Gold Newspaper (现代金报)
Ben Kessler is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog. He serves as editor of the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post previously appeared. The next 10 people to pre-order The China Anti-Corruption Handbook will receive an annual subscription to the China Compliance Digest at no additional cost.