International Conference on Missiology “Wyzwania rodziny w kulturach pozaeuropejskich” (“Challenges of the Family in non-European Cultures”)

15 June 2023, Warszawa, Poland

Katedra Misjologii (Department of Missiology) at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Instytut Jana Pawła II, Warszawa (The Institute of Pope John Paul II (Warsaw) et al.

Zbigniew Wesołowski SVD:

Lecture “Rodzina chińska w obszarze napięć pomiędzy tradycją a współczesnością” (Chinese Family in the Area of Tension between Tradition and Modernity)


The traditional Chinese family was primarily characterized by the following six structural features: It was 1) patrilineal, 2) patriarchal, 3) prescriptively virilocal, 4) embedded in kinship group, 5) sharing a common household budget, and 6) normatively extended in form. After briefly explaining these features, the speaker expounded the understanding of Confucian familism as an ideal of Chinese society. This concept understands the family as the only adequate and appropriate place of genesis, development and cultivation of human feelings and moral attitudes, which are first and foremost based on the instinctive abilities of xiao 孝 (filial piety) and ti 悌 (brotherly obedience). Afterwards, he summarized some (negative) features within traditional Chinese family life throughout history: (1) the marriage of children was entirely a family affair (“pater familias”); (2) female infanticide; and (3) the custom of foot binding. Then he concentrated on the modern challenges for the Chinese family, which increased in intensity after the rise of Communist ideology in China in 1949. The Chinese Communists presented their Communist Party as a “new family” for all Chinese, stressing the equality of men and women. Then China came under the sway of one-child policy (1979–2015), which was the largest and most infamous family planning policy carried out in recent world history, producing negative effects in the next generations. Another big challenge for the Chinese family nowadays is China’s internal migration (2020: about 376 million internal migrants). In conclusion, the speaker stressed the vulnerability of the Chinese family in the area of tension between tradition and modernity in Taiwan. Under the influence of left liberal gender and LGBTIQ+ ideology in particular of North American provenience, Taiwan which had long been a stronghold of traditional Chinese culture accepted same-sex marriage as legal on May 24, 2019, making it the first country in Asia to do so.