苏州科技大学天平学院 英语1721 李恬静
The Change of Gift-giving Custom
Tianping College of Suzhou University of Science and Technology
English 1721, Li Tianjing
Actually, gift-giving is a complex social issue. That people have association with each other by means of gifts contains abundant social meanings, such as friendliness, connection with one another, mutual benefit and reciprocity, expansion of influence, reinforcement of cooperation and so on, which indicates that the way of human existence is that of social contact and coexistence.
Not only does gift-giving exist in China, but also in a law of all societies, which is, especially, attached great importance to by Chinese. Throughout the whole life of the Chinese, almost each person gives gift from his birth, school attendance, work, marriage, housewarming, promotion to death, beginning and end up with gift-giving with no exception. Henceforth, gift-giving, itself, seems to have nothing to talk about and shouldn’t have any objection. However, China is a nation of etiquette since ancient times and its gift-giving has already become a kind of involuntary market exchange until nowadays and changed entirely.
Many “problems” are involved in gift-giving during the transformation period in China nowadays. For the lack of uniform rules of social operation in China, the owners of power and resources have a very flexible space. Affairs can be handled in this way or in that way, which is fairly elastic. As a result, such a custom is created that Chinese people turn to others for coping with affairs and connections, giving gifts becoming the vital approach to it. Giving gifts to the superior is for promotion, giving gifts to the boss is for work, giving gifts to the teacher is for students’ school attendance, giving gifts to the officer is for merchants’ business, giving gifts to the doctor is for consultation of patients, giving gifts to the judge is for lawsuit of parties . In China, giving gifts is not only a popular tradition among family members, but also a convention for commercial intercourse, which, however, provides an ideal excuse for bribery. Who will query the gift-giving in festivals? It is believed that more than 80 percent of corruption in China begins with giving gifts during the festivals.
The gifts Chinese receive and various gifts given to others are many more than those in any country of the world and more than those in the neighboring Japanese renowned for gift-giving.