China Exam: Who Do You Love More, Mom or Girlfriend?

A Chinese judge who values her mother. (China Daily)

A Chinese judge who values her mother. (China Daily)

China Exam: Who Do You Love More, Mom or Girlfriend?

It sounds like the kind of ethics thought experiment with no happy outcome, but according to China’s national judicial examination, this moral quandary has a “correct” answer. Getting it right is necessary to become a lawyer or judge in China.

The question? “If forced to choose, would you save your mother or your girlfriend from a burning building?

The correct answer? Your mother, of course. According to the BBC, China’s Minister of Justice declared that test-takers are, “Duty-bound to save their mothers.” He went on to call shirking your familial duties a “crime of non-action.

China’s Global Times calls the ethical dilemma a “well-known awkward question,” suggesting answering “correctly” might put some men in hot water with their better halves.

As one might expect, this subject is proving controversial on the Internet. Chinese citizens argue for and against the questionable query, and the rest of the world comments from afar. The Global Times quotes one Chinese Internet-user as saying, “I would definitely save my mother first. Apart from legal reasons, my mother raised me. Plus my girlfriend is younger, which means she has a better chance of escaping the fire on her own,”

Another man said, “According to the law, a son must save his mother. But the law does not say whether he has to save his mother while other people are also in danger,” reports the BBC. No word yet on whether the young man who proposed that loophole is taking the exam, but he sounds like excellent lawyer material.

Feminist news blog Jezebel points out one glaring gap in coverage of this story: no Chinese media source seems to address “the sexist nature of the question.” They go on to ask, “Should a woman save her father or her boyfriend first?

Do you believe a child has a mandate to save their parents over their romantic interest? Is this indicative of a sexist undercurrent in China, or could it be part of a larger conspiracy to bias the Chinese legal system against casual relationships? Join us in the discussion. Comment, share on Facebook, and find us on Twitter, hashtag #DMTalk.



Chris L

C. Paul Carlos

C. Paul Carlos is a big fan of Art Bell and all things paranormal and otherwise weird. He can often be found dropping tweets into the void at #DMTalk, or skulking around at the forums, where he serves as a humble mod and pot-stirring enthusiast.

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1 Response

  1. Michael Waters says:

    It’s a silly hypothetical question, of course. But having said that, I agree that the better answer may be saving dear ol’ mom.

    This is particularly true since we’ll always have our mom, but our girl friend? She may end up elsewhere, romantic relationships being as uncertain as they are.

    Even so, I’d hate to live in any country that dictated this sort of thing.

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