People entering careers as lawyers and judges in China are faced with an interesting moral quandary while taking the national judicial examination. On the exam, among questions about contract negotiations, lawsuits, and damages, test-takers are asked directly about who they would save in a fire, their mothers or their girlfriends.

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“It’s a classic sticky question in China. And this year, it was a key part of China’s national judicial examination, posed to future lawyers and judges. Those who pass the test are allowed to practice law in China,” writes Celia Hatton of the BBC News.

She continues:

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China’s ministry of justice later posted the “correct” answer: exam writers are duty-bound to save their mothers. It would be a “crime of non-action” to choose romantic love over filial duty.

It is unclear, Hatton points out, what exactly people without girlfriends (straight women, gay men, people who have just too much going on to date right now) are supposed to do in the same situation. (Answer: STOP BREAKING YOUR MOTHER’S HEART!)


Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.

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Image via Monster-in-Law/New Line Cinema.