Oddly Enough

China official shuts school to honour dead mother

BEIJING (Reuters) - A village official in northern China cancelled classes at a local school for several days to honour the anniversary of his mother’s death with on-campus performances of traditional opera.

Last week, the local primary school in Baodian, a village in Shanxi province, became a de facto theatre, with local residents watching traditional opera performed on a “towering” stage set up on campus grounds, according to a local newspaper report that was carried in Thursday’s Beijing News.

“Some of the school’s classrooms were locked, while others had been converted into living quarters for a troupe of actors,” the report said.

“Because of the opera, students could not go to classes, so the school arranged a holiday,” the paper added, citing students.

The official was tight-lipped when tracked down, the report said, telling the paper: “This is my private family business. You have no right to interfere.”

Once denounced as “feudal” in Mao-era China, Confucian notions of filial piety and honouring dead family members have made a comeback in recent decades, and are particularly strong in remote rural areas.

In April, local authorities in Changyuan county in central China announced they would vet officials’ filial piety and family values when deciding on promotions.