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Why Is Red Scarf Worn By School Children In China?

Red scarf worn by school students are called Hong Ling Jin (红领巾)in Chinese.

The red scarf is a symbol of the Young Pioneers of China, a mass organization for children aged 6 to 14.

Upon reaching the age of 14, members automatically exit the Young Pioneers and may go on to join the Communist Youth League and then Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

Most elementary school students are Young Pioneers by the time they graduate from grade school.

Most of the schools require students of the right age to become Young Pioneers.

  • It is a sign of loyalty to the Communist Party of China and the socialist cause.
  • It is worn by school children as a sign of their commitment to the organization and the Chinese communist ideology it supports.

Not only do they wear red scarves but also school uniforms.

(Wonder how Chinese school uniforms look like? This article is for you.)

What Is The Size And Material Of Red Scarf?

The red scarf is available in two sizes, small and large.

The small size has a bottom length of 100 cm and a waist length of 60 cm.

The large size has a bottom length of 120 cm and a waist length of 72 cm.

The red scarf is made in the color of the national flag, using fabrics such as cloth, silk and satin according to the standard.

How To Wear It?

  • Put the red scarf on the shoulders, with the blunt corner pointing towards the spine and the right corner under the left corner, crossing the two corners.
  • Pull the right corner through the gap between the two corners and around the left corner.
  • Pull the right corner out of the circle and tighten it.

When To Wear And Not Wear It?

  • Young Pioneers members should wear red scarves when attending Young Pioneer assemblies and activities, such as flag raising ceremonies, opening ceremonies, graduation ceremonies and other important ceremonial activities.
  • Red scarves may not be worn during physical activities, labor production, or rest at home.
  • In hot weather, red scarves may be temporarily not worn, but the team emblem badge must be worn.
  • Red scarves and their names shall not be used for trademarks, commercial advertisements, and commercial activities.
  • All levels of Young Pioneer organizations, Young Pioneers members, and Young Pioneer counselors shall not purchase and use non-compliant red scarves.

I remember that when I was in elementary school, there was a ceremony for joining the Young Pioneers and wearing a red scarf.

In the eyes of the elementary school students, it was a solemn and glorious moment to join the Pioneers and wear a red scarf.

Next, I will share the steps of the wearing ceremony.

Ceremony To Join Young Pioneers And Wear Red Scarf:

  1. All the teachers and counselors accompany the students to recognize the logo, name, flag, emblem of the Young Pioneers, learn the sign, how to wear red scarves, pay tribute to the team, and learn the team song.
  2. All the teachers and students gather at the school playground, stand up and sing the national anthem.
  3. The flag bearers march in a neat step, escorting the flag forward.

4. The senior students tie red scarves to the new Young Pioneer members.

5. All the Young Pioneer members sing the Young Pioneer team song together.

6. Facing the flag, the new members hold their right fists and solemnly swear:

“I am a member of the Chinese Young Pioneers, I love the Communist Party of China, love my motherland, love the people, study hard, exercise hard, and prepare to contribute to the cause of communism!”

(I had the same ceremony 20 years ago when I joined Young Pioneers but I didn’t care the meaning at all, I just felt a sense of unity and fun to do something different instead of taking classes. I am sure all my peers at that time felt the same.)

Final Words:

When I was writing about this article, it reminded me so much of my primary school time.

It makes me want to go home and dig out my red scarf and old school uniforms.

I am sure my mum kept them well.


If you like my article, do not forget to share with friends on social. I appreciate any support.😊💓

Frequently Asked Questions:

What does Chinese red scarf mean?

It is worn as a sign of respect for revolutionary leaders and as a way of showing support for the principles of communism.

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