Bang Bang!

Bang bang! Do you really need a bullet vest in China? Well, the right question to ask is, are you even allowed to own a gun in China?

The finer things

The answer is no, you are not allowed to own a gun in China. There used to be only seven– just seven– gun licenses in Shanghai, and those licenses were issued to a very elite group of people who used to belong to a hunting club.

Gun

[Picture credited to VaMedia]

We are talking about upper class citizens who are only into the finer things in life, such as classical music, fine wines and antique furniture. These guns were handed down to them by their fathers who made the purchase before the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Put ’em up!

About 20 years ago, one by one, those lucky gun owners were “cordially invited” by their local head of police to have a “friendly talk” down at the station. They were “kindly advised” that due to concerns of public safety, it was to their “best interest” to turn over those old guns to the police station and receive a symbolic payment as a token of appreciation.

Red, White, and Green

As the saying goes, you see a sea of red when the stock market is going down and a sea of green when the market is going up. Well, if you’re in China, that’s not quite right! In Chinese culture, there is a strong symbolism of colors that can lead to cultural misunderstandings for Americans.

Opposite Day

When keeping an eye on the Chinese stock markets, remember that in China the color red symbolizes success, while green symbolizes failure, especially when it comes to money.

Stocks

In China, the stock markets use the exact opposite color scheme from the West. When the stock market is going up, the upward arrows along with all the numbers are typed in red, and when the stock market is going down, the downward arrows along with all the numbers are typed in green.

So, next time, if you happen to hear the Chinese news anchor saying that the Shanghai Stock Exchange is in a sea of green, don’t get too excited!

White Wedding… not!

Stock markets aside, the symbolism of color plays an important role in other factors of Chinese culture. When you get down to the nitty-gritty, there are only two forms of celebrations in China – the “red” and the “white.”

The “red” celebration usually signifies a major milestone that can add life to your family, such as child birth and marriage. The color red can also lend itself to major events such as graduation and job promotion. The “white” celebration, on the other hand, is only used to signify the saintly passing of a family member who was able to live to a ripe old age.

It was only in recent history that people in China started to view the color white as a color suitable for marriage. But then again, this notion usually only caters to people who are more western-minded. For those hardcore Chinese who prefer to hold on to their traditional values, red is still the color of choice when it comes to marriage, and white is reserved for death rites.

[Pictures used in this article credited to Katrina Tuliao and Augapfel]