Depraved Chinese women are bringing the country down, says education billionaire
- Michael Yu Minhong faces storm of criticism after blaming women for declining standards and saying they are only interested in men with money
- Founder of New Oriental group, which helps people with their communication skills, defends himself by saying he had been misunderstood
China’s “godfather of English training” has ignited a firestorm of criticism after blaming “depraved” women for declining moral standards.
Michael Yu Minhong, head of the New Oriental Group, who made a fortune helping people with their communication skills, then defended himself against accusations of sexism by saying his point had been “poorly made” and misunderstood.
“Chinese women pick men based on their ability to make money and they don’t care if they are good people. Chinese women’s depravity has led to the fall of the country,” Yu told an education summit in Shanghai on Sunday.
Video clips of his speech were widely shared on Chinese social media, drawing criticism from women from all walks of life.
Chinese actress Kitty Zhang responded. “Even with an education from Peking University and the success of New Oriental, you still don’t understand the value of women and what equality between genders is,” she wrote on the social media network Weibo.
Yu attempted to clarify his speech on Weibo later that night, but his clarification only compounded the problem.
“What I had meant to say was: Women determine the standard of a country. If women and mothers have high standards, then they can produce children of high standards,” he wrote.
“If all women care about is money, then men are going to keep trying to make more money and ignore their mental development.”
The comments failed to assuage his critics.
One Weibo user commented: “So without women, men won’t chase after money any more?”
Another wrote: “It should be how a country treats its women that determines the standards of a country.”
Yu, 56, is the founder of the Beijing-based New Oriental Education & Technology Group, the largest private education services provider in China, which helps people prepare for overseas examinations as well as offering language training for adults.
He was ranked 148 on Forbes’s China Rich List 2018, with a net worth of US$1.8 billion.
China’s progress in closing the gender gap appears to be slowing, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 global gender gap report.
It ranked 100 out of 144 countries and has the world’s largest disparity between the number of boys and girls – a legacy of the notorious one-child policy and the traditional preference for sons.
Sexist attitudes also surfaced last month after a bus plunged into the Yangtze River in Chongqing, with social media users blaming a woman driver for the accident.
It later emerged that a passenger who grabbed the wheel was to blame for the accident in which 15 people died.
Meanwhile, the organisers of a 10km race for women in Shanghai next month were criticised for offering make-up services and candyfloss at the finish line.