Teaching children Weiqi is part of a larger discourse on training boys to become men who will thrive in China’s highly competitive economy. This has been linked with the concept of suzhi (often defined as “quality”), which is more often than not associated with middle-class aesthetics, consumerism, and a grueling work ethic. Suzhi is used by the Chinese government, popular press, and educational leaders to encourage its citizenry to be industrious, to seek education, and to behave in a more genteel fashion. Suzhi is also used in disciplining children to become model citizens in a framework that some have critiqued as a neoliberal agenda. In elementary school classes, for example, children are exposed to expectations of constant self-evaluation in regard to their abilities, diligence, and efforts to overcome their own shortcomings. In turn, teachers and parents are also disciplined. They must adjust their behavior to become proper role models, and they are bound to the children’s grueling schedules. This often includes school during the day and intensive tutoring and study during the evenings, weekends, and vacations. Weiqi training is a subset of this disciplinary process—one that is thought to train young minds and bodies to face the challenges of today’s competitive society.
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