"Parents Are Poison": Filial Piety, New Media, and Psychological Self-Help in Contemporary China


Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships




In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has ardently promoted filial piety in moral education for its rule, but this has been resisted by Chinese domestic child abuse survivors who initiated an anti-parent movement on the Internet. Combining virtual ethnography with offline multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in China, this project investigates how new media and the transnational circulation of psychological self-help knowledge bring about new strategies and cultural resources that the child abuse survivors employ to resist hegemonic discourses of family and kin morality and to challenge the authoritarian state. This research sheds valuable light on the complex relationships between the Chinese state, the family, civil society, and the individual over the important issues of domestic violence, cyberspace activism, mental health and mental-care techniques in the unique political and cultural circumstances of today’s China.