Binge Drinking in China

China-Alcohol-007

By Yooji Yang

Drinking can be one of the good ways to interact with other people. Sometimes by drinking, people can make the good relationship with others. Every country has its own drinking culture both in good and bad ways. We cannot miss the drinking culture in China also.

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Since every country has its own famous alcohol, in China also has its own “distilled alcoholic beverage.” This is known as “Baijiu” or “Shaojiu,” which literally means, “burning alcohol.” Baijiu also known as white wine in western; however, this is distilled alcohol with “40% to 60%of alcohol by volume. ” Every region in China produces Baijiu with different ingredient. Some area uses glutinous rice and other area made with “sorghum, wheat, barley, and millet.”

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Typical Chinese drinking culture is not to get drunk fast. It is usually drinking small amounts of alcohol in long period of time. However, in China binge drinking is becoming popular. In United States, binge drinking usually happens within the young age people. However, in China it is different. Binge drinking in China usually happens within people who are older, working people. Binge drinking for them is not for having fun and enjoying drinking. It is for career reason. “If I drink, it doesn’t necessarily help me get promoted. But if I don’t, it’s less likely that I will be. So I must drink, even if it’s not pleasant at all,” Chi explains. “People want to show they are forthright and try to get along with others … it’s very normal to get an order to drink from bosses.” One of the workers in China explains this binge drinking happening within China. By watching this situation, I could see how important the drinking to Chinese people, especially for the workers. “The successful candidate will need to handle 250 to 500ml of baijiu at a time.” Since drinking for most of binge drinkers are related with their works, there are no choice but drinking all the drinks that their bosses giving to them. Some job adverts also demand their applicants to handle high amounts of alcohol.

It is easy to understand why Chinese people binge drinking when we go back to the history of China. Since back in the past “When one drinks with a friend, a thousand cups are not enough.” It doesn’t mean that Chinese people are encouraged to binge drink, but we cannot ignore the tradition or history behind developing binge drinking culture.

Watching this situation, I could see how the serious the career and the position can affect to a country’s culture. Keeping the position within the job is very important because people have their own family to take care of. This somehow made me sad and thinking about my father in his work. Probably most of fathers’ family do not know the behind meaning of their fathers’ drinking. However, by drinking such, they want to have responsibilities for keeping their family.

Questions: what do you think of binge drinking that happening in China compare to your own countries’ drinking culture? How do you feel when you read the reasons why Chinese workers’ binge drinking?

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baijiu

http://www.shanghaiexpat.com/article/chinese-drinking-culture-22349.html

http://travel.cnn.com/shanghai/drink/5-chinese-drinking-habits-explains-621771

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/22/rise-of-binge-drinking-china

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