This essay was written with the intent of explaining the Chinese concept of 'mianzi' whichcan also be written as
when using Chinese characters. My objective from the beginningwas to convey the true meaning of mianzi as so many people had been defining it merely asyour personal image or, as it's commonly known as, face. This oversimplification of acomplex cultural aspect was really not very helpful to those wishing to better understand theculture of China.After considering how I should explain this concept I decided that the best possible way tounderstand mianzi was to explain the history surrounding it. Quickly I realised that one couldwrite a great deal about this and that my idea might be too ambitious considering I only had atwo thousand five hundred word limit. Then I decided to only explain it in a business contextbut this did not stay true to the real meaning of mianzi. Therefore, I finally decided to go back to my original idea of giving a definition, explaining some of the history involved andexpressing its importance. This means that I could not go into great detail on any single partof what mianzi is but it did allow me to at least give the most realistic and balancedexplanation for its existence and allowed me to stay within the word limit.The world media is in a frenzy about the rise of China's economy, many people are worriedand see their rise as a threat to global peace. I don't agree with this at all, if anything I believethat the rise of China is an excellent thing, it lifts millions of people out of poverty and acts asa counterweight to the global power held by the USA. Ireland can also benefit hugely throughincreased trade so it's in our interest that they continue to prosper, we also have to make aneffort to learn about their culture if we're to trade with them effectively.Although there are many social, political and economic hurdles that the Chinese are yet toovercome I do believe that some of the negative publicity that China receives is not fair. Ibelieve that many people in the West simply do not know enough about them. Since notmany people in Ireland truly know a great deal about Chinese culture I thought that perhaps Icould explain a part of it. I really hope after seeing this the reader might learn somethingabout mianzi and that when they read a news article about something that happened in Chinathey will realise that maybe that piece of news was perceived completely differently in Chinadue to such great importance put into saving, gaining, losing or damaging mianzi.