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NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION Chinese Emotion and Gesture Nonverbal communication includes facial expression, tones of voice , gestures, and

eye contact. It plays an important role in our daily life, sometimes it is even more powerful than the verbal interaction. Different gestures have different meanings. Different nationalities have specific gestures and emotions. However, due to the different background and culture, even the same gesture and emotion has different meaning for different people in certain contexts. China is one of the largest countries in the world The Chinese have become more reserved or at least the gestures expressing emotions are comparatively less expressive. Nonverbal language includes not only gestures, which are part of the body language but also mimics, which are facial expressions.

The taxonomy of gestures we will use is the following:

Contemporary gestures

Gestures for emotive and attitudinal speech acts Positive Neutral Negative Gestures for counting Good bye!

Contemporary gestures
Contemporary gestures are gestures which are currently used gestures in one social community. Furthermore, there are different things we want to express and do with gestures. We will distinguish between: gestures of emotion, on one side, which we will define as emotive nonverbal acts, thus echoing the definition of speech acts, such as promise, agreement and gestures of counting, on the other. Positive emotions and speech acts greetings

When you meet your professor you should lower your head and bend slightly to show respect. The same posture is used when a young man is greeting an old man.

Shaking hands is not used between people of radically different status, as the previous two cases, but between socially equal people, friends or businessman. agreement

This gesture is used in informal situations, when you reach an agreement with somebody else. In China, it is not only a gesture, but also a good wish. Each of you hopes the agreement will be long. promise

If you put your right hand on the position of the heart means it "sincere promise" but since a promise is a promise only if it is sincere .The ancient Chinese thought that the calculating functions and the memory of human beings are based in the heart, thus this gesture is a typical iconic metaphor. satisfaction

This gesture represents a feeling of self-satisfaction. It is usually used by women when they feel satisfied and don't want other people to know it. Typical for the Chinese culture as a whole is that Chinese women express their feelings in a more introvert or discreet manner. wishes

"Thank you!"

"I wish you good fortune!" In China, when you don't know how to express your gratitude to somebody, may be gesture 1 will be helpful, you don't need to say a single word, but everyone knows that you are expressing your thankfulness. But when you gesticulate like 2 especially on festivals, all the people you gesticulate to will be very happy, because you wish them good fortune. "Thank you for serving me! "

North Chinese gesture for "Thank you for serving me!"

South Chinese gesture for "Thank you for serving me!" In China, when being served, it will be very polite to make a gesture to express your feeling of thankfulness, but you should do it in different way if you are in the different areas of China. In North China, you should do like that like in 1, but in South China, you should do 'the koutou' gesture (desribed also as a dead gesture above). It is especially important in public occasions. Neutral emotion hesitation

This gesture symbolizes confrontation with difficult problems and attempts to solve them, in other way, it means hesitation. Negative emotion insulting

When people show gestures like this one, that means that they look down upon somebody. And when you use one of your fingers to scrape your face looking at somebody, in fact, the corresponding verbal expression may be said to be "Shame on you!"

Some Chinese point with their middle finger without realizing that it has a vulgar meaning in the West. Conversely, a thumb placed between the middle and index fingers (the "nose stealing" gesture) is on obscene gesture in some parts of China. Don't point or use your finger to beckon someone (this gesture is used for dogs). To get someone's attention and tell them to come here place your palm down and move your fingers towards you. This gesture is used with children, taxis or waiters but is considered very rude when directed at an older person. The most polite way to attract someone's attention is to make eye contact and bow slightly.
Holding your fist up is an obscene gesture in Hong Kong and some parts of southern China. Also in southern China, people say thank you by tapping two fingers on the table. Many people in the north, however, are not familiar with this gesture

irritating and instigating

If someone insults you, but you don't want to fight with him, the following gesture may express your irritation. It means "Damn you!", but if you make this gesture first, it means "If you have guts, come and take me!".
Winking and whistling are considered rude.

Counting Chinese people have particular gestures for counting. They can be different in different parts of China. The gestures for 1,2,3 and 5 are similar to the corresponding European gestures. The rest are as follows:

South Chinese Gesture for 4.

North Chinese gesture for 4.

Gesture for 6.

South Chinese gesture for 7.

North Chinese gesture for 7.

Gesture for 8.

Gesture for 9.

Gesture for 10.

Here are some basics to know before you visit China:

The Alluring "git over here" gesture
Yes, the Chinese gesture for "come over here". Commonly people will hold their hand out, palm-side down, and wave their fingers rapidly...the more rapid, the more urgent the request. So follow your heart when you see a pretty Chinese girl doing that. You also can use it to hail a cab. Or even a bus in the rural areas where there are no official bus stops.

Whats the point?

Very rarely will people point with a single index finger. Usually you will "point" at things using all four fingers. It's not the end of the world if you point with one finger. People get your meaning and are not offended. It's just more polite, and something to keep in mind.

Hugging Someone New

Remember The whole point of etiquette is to help other people feel more comfortable around you. When you meet and greet new people - even family - you rarely, rarely hug and kiss. Like almost never. A normal greeting includes a handshake, perhaps accompanied by a slight bow (not like Japan, where there is a big bow) or nod of the head.

Two-Handed Pass and Receive

When you meet someone new, they may give you a business card - with both hands. Make sure you accept the card with both hands. It's easy - just mimic what the other person does. Examine the card closely, as this card is considered a representation of the person. Do not immediately jam it into an overstuffed wallet without even glancing at it - your new acquaintance will lose face. Ideally you will have a business card to exchange in return. If you want to be very superpolite, use that same two-handed give whenever you give your credit card, a gift, even money. You can even hold your teacup with two hands while someone else fills it with tea to show extra appreciation.

Showing your love

Public demonstrations of love are less common in China. Often young couples will seek out the veil of darkness in a nearby city park or University campus and pa toe (which means love talking). And if you see two people in China of the same-sex holding hands or walking arm-in-arm, they're just friends.

V or double V
When getting your photo taken - you often make the V sign with your index and middle fingers. Sometimes with both hands if you're really happy!

Hide your tongue

Many people in China consider it rude to show the inside of their mouth. That's why so many Chinese girls cover their mouth in a cute way while they laugh. If you want to be polite, cover your mouth from view while you:

yawn cough laugh spit use a toothpick

Eye contact tends to be indirect. Both the thumbs up sign and tugging on the earlobe are signs of excellence..

Greetings in China

Greeting gesture

In China it is rude to call someone by their first name unless you've known them since childhood. In work-related situations people address each other by their title; in social situations "Mr.," Mrs.," and "Miss" are used; at home people often refer to each other by nicknames or terms of kinship. Remember, in China, the family name is first. Terms of kinship are often used for close non-relatives. A younger man often calls a man who is five years older than him "big brother" and someone who is considerably older "uncle." Chinese often address their friends as juniors and seniors even if they are just a few months younger or older. When a Chinese person asks someone their age they often do this so they know how to address the person. Chinese sometimes don't smile or exchange greeting with strangers. Smiling or being friendly to someone you don't know well is sometimes considered rude and too familiar. When saying goodbye it is considered appropriate to give a quick bow or nod to everyone present and go. Beijingers often say goodbye to one another by saying Ju-i, which is translated both as "Take it slow" and "as one desires." The Chinese are not big on drawn out goodbyes. After finishing a meal, they often get up, thank each other, say goodbye and leave abruptly. When the Chinese say farewell after a visit or journey together, they simply go; there is "no lingering, no swapping of addresses, no reminiscences, nothing sentimental."

Bowing, Touching, Clapping and Shaking Hands in China

Thank you gesture Unlike Japanese, Chinese do not necessarily bow to one another as a greeting, a parting gesture or an alternative to waving or saying "Hi." But they sometimes do. Bowing is generally reserved as a sign of respect for elders and ancestors, especially on on special holidays. When Chinese bow they make a fist with their right hand and hold it in the palm of the left at stomach level and bow slightly to deeply depending on how much respect they want to convey. In imperial times, visitors to the emperor were expected to drop to the floor and knock their foreheads on the floor nine times to show respect. Such kowtowing gestures are still displayed when Chinese worship at temples. Kowtowing is a powerful gesture reserved mainly for honoring the dead or offering deep respect at a temple. In the Cultural Revolution as a tool of humiliation against those who committed political crimes. The Chinese have traditionally not been big hand shakers but the custom is now widely practiced among men, especially when greeting Westerners and other foreigners. Sometimes Chinese shake for too long for Western tastes and have a limp rather than firm grip. A limp handshake is regarded as a gesture of humility and respect. When a Western man meets a Chinese person, especially a woman, he should wait for the other person to offers his or her hand first, before offering to shake hands.

With Chinese, avoid, hugs, backslapping or touching other than a handshake. Sometimes when entering a school, a meeting or a banquet, Chinese clap as a greeting. It is customary to clap in return. A soft clap, with you hands horizontal to the floor is best. Introductions are usually made with a third party. It is considered unusual for a person to walk up to a stranger and introduce himself.

Respect for Older People in China

Many codes of behavior revolve around young people showing respect to older people. Younger people are expected to defer to older people, let them speak first, sit down after them and not contradict them. Sometime when an older person enters a room, everyone stands. People are often introduced from oldest to youngest. Sometimes people go out their way to open doors for older people and not cross their legs in front of them. When offering a book or paper to someone older than you, you should show respect by using two hands to present the object. On a crowded subway or bus, you should give up your seat to an elderly person. Sometimes a comment based on age meant to be complimentary can turn out to be an insult. The New York Times described a businessmen who was meeting with some high-ranking government officials and told one them he was probably too young to remember. The comment was intended to be a compliment:that the official looked young for his agebut it was taken as insultthat the officials was not old enough to be treated with respect.

Gestures in China

gesture for a promise Chinese dont gesture very much and regard a lot of hand movement as excessive. Winking and whistling are considered rude. Eye contact tends to be indirect.

Both the thumbs up sign and tugging on the earlobe are signs of excellence. An outward pointing and raised pinky means you are nothing, poor quality or not very good at something. Some Chinese point with their middle finger without realizing that it has a vulgar meaning in the West. Conversely, a thumb placed between the middle and index fingers (the "nose stealing" gesture) is on obscene gesture in some parts of China. Don't point or use your finger to beckon someone (this gesture is used for dogs). To get someone's attention and tell them to come here place your palm down and move your fingers towards you. This gesture is used with children, taxis or waiters but is considered very rude when directed at an older person. The most polite way to attract someone's attention is to make eye contact and bow slightly. Holding your fist up is an obscene gesture in Hong Kong and some parts of southern China. Also in southern China, people say thank you by tapping two fingers on the table. Many people in the north, however, are not familiar with this gesture.

Displays of Affection in China

Public displays of affection between members of the opposite sexsuch as kissing, hugging and holding handsare considered rude, while holding hands and hugging among members of the same sex are perfectly acceptable. Many university students and young people in their twenties have never kissed a member of the opposite sex and never even seen their parents kiss. Kissing is regarded as just one step shy of sex. French kissing is seen as some kind of exotic, forbidden experience. In secondary schools there are rules that state that students can not "touch, embrace or kiss." Because there is little privacy at home and young lovers often can't afford a hotel, couples that do display their affection go to smooch behind trees at public parks, or inside bomb shelters built during the Cultural Revolution "for the coming war." After the discos close young lovers go to special bars and restaurants were they can make out. In some places it is not unusual to see couples kissing and embracing in public places around breakfast time. "The Chinese." wrote Theroux, "were so desperate in their courtships that they went on tourists outing in order to hide and canoodle. Every holy mountain and famous pagoda had more than its share of motionless couples hugging and (sometimes) smooching...the Chinese do it standing up, usually behind a rock or a building, and they hug each other very tightly." See Sex and Kissing

Social Customs in China

gesture for

agreement Chinese consider it rude to look someone directly in the eye, cross your arms or legs, or have your hands in your pocket when you are speaking to someone. Chinese usually focus their eyes on the lower neck of the person they are talking to, stand very close to them, and try to avoid staring. Chinese also don't like it when Westerners point at people; wear strong colognes or perfumes; put their feet or sit on desks; don't use titles or show proper respect to elders and superiors; boast and offer their opinions to readily; want immediate answers; and show a lack of patience. Chinese are very punctual. They are expected to arrive exactly on time for a party or a dinner engagement. Westerners are sometimes get caught unprepared with Chinese guests at their door or are chided for being late. It is also considered rude not to be patient and wait even when someone is really late. Showing up on time is regarded as an expression of respect to other people. In the rural areas these rules are less rigid as people are less tied to the clock and often more closely tied to immediate matters around them. Chinese generally dont make compliments. When Westerners do the response is either denial, self deprecation or saying the opposite of the compliment is true. If you say a young girl is cute it is not unusual for Chinese to say she is ugly. If you say a meal is good, they will say something didnt turn out right.

Talking and Conversation in China

When meeting a foreigner Chinese usually ask the same questions and make the same comments: "Where are you from?" Where did you learn to use chopsticks?" What is favorite place in China?" It is not unusual for foreigners to get assaulted by 40 or 50 people all asking questions in English at once. People often ask foreigners a lot of personal questions, especially about their families and marriage. If you are over 30 and single and are asked if your married it is best to lie and say yes, otherwise people will feel sorry for you. Not having a wife and children is considered unfortunate and even bad luck. Sometimes Chinese can be uncomfortably frank. It is not unusual for Chinese to make a comment on the beauty of large Western noses.

Westerners are advised to avoid conversations about politics and sex and refrain from making any comments that could be construed as a negative comment about China. Mainland China should be referred to as the "People's Republic of China." Don't confuse it with Taiwan or imply that Taiwan is not part of China. The Tibet issue is also quite sensitive. Don't make comments about Chinese customs: innocent observations can often be taken in a negative way. At teh same time expect uniformed comments about your home country and culture. Good, safe topics include food and family. For Chinese it is said, the purpose of conservation is to create a harmonious atmosphere.

Confusion Over Yes and No

gesture for hesitation As is true with many Asian people, the Chinese will do anything they can to save face and make foreign visitors happy even if it means misleading them. Instead of telling you the unpleasant truth they would rather tell you what you want to hear. In the mid-1990s, a bank in Jinan informed their tellers to stop using "I don't know" and 90 other "uncivilized sentences." Chinese consider it rude to say "no" directly. They often say something like "maybe," "I am busy," or even "yes" when they really mean "no," or convey a no answer in way that foreigners don't understand. This behavior sometimes causes confusion with Westerners who like a yes-or-no answer, and who tend to believe there is a possibility of a "yes" unless they are told "no" straight out. Chinese consider it rude, kind of mean and too direct to say "no." A typical confused situation goes something like this. A Westerner takes his car to a Chinese mechanic to have it fixed. He asks will it be ready tomorrow. The mechanic says "yes" because he doesn't want to be rude and say no. The Westerners shows up the next and is angry because his car isn't ready. The mechanic doesn't understand why he is angry: the day before he was only trying to be polite and telling the Westerner what he wanted to hear. The Westerner should have asked, "When will my car be ready?"

Gift Giving in China

Chinese are not as big on gift-giving as Japanese. Nevertheless it is polite to present a small gift when meeting a Chinese person. Gifts exchanged in business and social situations include fruit, pens, handkerchiefs, chocolates, whiskey, wine, Scotch, or pictures from your home country or city. Dons give anything that is green. Green is a symbol of cuckoldry. Avoid white. It is associated with death and funerals. One should not give a clockwhich to the Chinese symbolize death or the end of a relationshipas a gift. In Chinese, to give a clock sound like seeing someone off to his end. Dont give a book because giving a book" sound like delivering defeat. Dont give an umbrella because doing so implies that the family of the gift receiver is going to be dispersed. The recipient of a gift should make sure to shower the gift giver with thanks, smiles and compliments. When receiving a gift don't open it immediately unless requested to do so. In China, gifts are meant to be opened in private. Don't give too much attention to an object when visiting someone' house. The host may feel obligated to give it to you. In business and politics, there is a fuzzy line between gift giving and corruption. The issue becomes even more complicated when factoring in the fact that refusing a gift is considered very rude.

Singing, Dancing and Partying Customs in China

Chinese love to sing. They sing in karaokes and singing rooms, bring portable karaokes to parks and beaches, ask guests to "sing-a-song" at parties, and watch entertainers and actors sing karaoke songs on television. Guests at parties and on bus trips are often asked to sing a song. Chinese generally are shyer about dancing than singing, whereas the reverse is true about many Westerners. Chinese children generally have few opportunities to dance when they grow up and feel awkward doing it, but they do a lot of singing in school and tend to regard it as a fun activity like recess or sports. Among Chinese adults karaoke is very popular. In parks, people often sit in groups of twenty or thirty and sing songs or put on plays or operas. Chinese singers with good voices of course are admired more than those with bad voices but even bad singers are applauded for their effort.

Discos are becoming increasingly popular in China. Men and women usually don't dance as couples. Friends usually dance in a group. Women often dance together and men sometimes dance with each other. Often you are more likely to see people of the same sex dancing together than people of the opposite sex. Sometimes men even slow dance together. Chinese like to party in one big group rather than breaking up into small groups and circulating like Westerners do at a cocktail party. When Chinese do divide into groups they tend to divide into separate groups of men and women

Women Customs in China

Many Chinese women cover their mouth when they laugh. Traditionally, a woman that laughed too loud or openly was considered uncouth and ill bred. Many Chinese men look upon women smokers with disgust and consider smoking a very unladylike thing to do. Over the past couple decades smoking and drinking have increased dramatically among women.

Home Customs in China

Unlike Japanese and Koreans, Chinese usually keep their shoes on when entering a house. More and more, though, Chinese are leaving their shoes at the door Japanese style. Unlike Japanese and Koreans, who spend a lot of time sitting on the floor, Chinese prefer chairs. The first Chinese to sit in chair were noblemen who wanted to be higher than the people around them to show their superior position over the people they ruled

Most Chinese are happy to have tourists visit their home although they often embarrassed by their basic living conditions. Their best food and liquor are usually reserved for guests. House guests are expect to bring a present. A bottle of imported whiskey or wine is usually a safe gift.


Socializing around food and mealtimes is very important to the Chinese. Much of Chinese family life revolves around the dinner table. Chinese will often stop whatever they are doing, no matter how important, when it is time for a meal. The Chinese are also stubborn about not going anywhere before having breakfast, which often begins at 9:00am and ends around 10:00am. Traditionally, Chinese believed it was impolite to talk too much while eating. A good meal was regarded as too special to be spoiled by conversation.

Instead of having food served on individual plates, the Chinese eat from a common dish in the middle of a round table or from several dishes placed on a round table. When eating Chinese reach across one another, pass dishes, pour each other drinks and put food on each others plate. Chinese food is served in courses. A typical Chinese meal consists of rice, one to four meat or fish main courses, two vegetable dishes and one soup. The courses are often eaten one at a time. Soup is usually served after the main course instead of before it. Sometimes drinks aren't served. Soup is used to wash down a meal instead of drinks. The Chinese are not big on desserts. Meals are often capped off with fruit not cake, pies or ice cream. Chinese usually eat from a bowl or small plate. When eating from a bowl they place spoonfuls of the main dish and sauce on rice in the bowl and bring the bowl close to their mouth and scoop the food into their mouth with chopsticks.

Table Manners in China

Even today polite Chinese don't start eating until the eldest person at the table picks up his chopsticks or spoon and no one is excused from the table until the eldest person has finished eating. When offering a plate, dish, glass or bottle to someone who is older than you, you show respect by using two hands to present the object. The Chinese eat very fast. After finishing a meal, Chinese often get up, thank each other, say goodbye and leave abruptly. Chinese consider it somewhat rude to eat in front of non-eating people, or to eat while walking down the streets. In the old days, when three generations shared the same house, the grandparents ate separately. Even today, in many villages men eat first and women eat second

Slurping and Finger Licking in China

Chinese often make loud slurping noises when eating noodles. Making noise is not considered impolite, rather it is considered a compliment and an expression of enjoying the food. In some situations, a particularly loud slurp means you've finished eating. Chinese consider it uncouth to lick your fingers or blow your nose when eating. If you use a toothpick cover your mouth while you do it. People are expected to eat all their rice. Leaving small amounts of other food behind is okay. Chinese associate serving too much food with being a good host. Putting salt on food can be taken as an insult to cook.

Chopsticks, Spoons and Forks in China

Never drop your chopsticks. This is a sign of bad luck. Never stick them in bowl of rice so they stand up. This signifies death. Chops sticks set across the bowl indicates you are finished. Chopsticks and serving spoons are both used to take food from serving bowls.

The Chinese use special ladle-like spoons to eat soup but otherwise use chopsticks for almost everything else. Knives are used only in the kitchen. They are not used as eating utensils because most Chinese food is soft or cut into bite size pieces. These days many people regard disposable wooden chopsticks as an environmental hazard and people are encouraged to use reusable ones whenever possible.

Restaurant Customs in China

Splitting the bill is considered crude and barbaric. Being the one that pays it is considered an honour. According to Chinese custom the person that extends an invitation or the highest ranking person present is the person who pays. When there is a friendly argument over who pays, the most respected individual is expected to win out.

It is considered tacky for the host to pay in front of his guests, so usually what he does is excuse himself under the pretext of going to the bathroom and pays the bill privately.

Tipping is not practiced in China. Chinese sometimes appear rude to service personnel at restaurants, hotels and stores shouting and ordering people around. This kind of behavior is considered acceptable.

Banquets in China
The Chinese love banquets. High-ranking party officials often attend several banquets a week and foreigner tourists on package tours are often treated to a banquet shortly after their arrival in China.

Chinese usually arrive early at banquets and greet all the guests starting with the host. Being late for a formal banquet is considered extremely rude. The Chinese commonly welcome guests to a banquet with applause. Guests are expected to sample every dish. The honored guest is expected to try a new dish first. Other guests then follow. The guest of honor is often identified with a folded paper dragon at his place setting. He or she is expected to be the first one to leave. Most banquets last for about two hours and include a dozen, a dozen and half dishes. The serving of fruit and/or tea signifies the dinner has come to an end. The guest of honor should then make a motion to leave, thanking his or host/hostess and depart. Other guests have to wait until the guest of honor leaves before they can leave.

Drinking Customs in China

Chinese usually don't start drinking until someone offers the toast "gan bei"("dry glass," the equivalent of "bottoms up

When drinking, one should not drink from the bottle. It is considered impolite to pour a drink for yourself and when pouring a drink for an older person make sure to use two hands (a sign of respect). If you want a drink yourself the polite thing to do is fill someone else's glass and they in turn will fill yours. In some situations, it is rude to turn down a drink that is being offered to you. To avoid drinking too much keep you glass full. To avoid being rude accept a drink the first time it is offered to you by a particular individual. The second time he offers, it is acceptable to politely say no. The Chinese generally look down on drunkenness. Chinese especially look down on daytime drinking.

Toasts in China
The Chinese are very big on toasts. Gam bei is heard after every course and guests are often asked to have one drink with every person who is considered a host. There is Chinese proverb that goes: "if you leave a social meal sober you did not truly enjoy yourself." A host usually begins the toast after the first course by welcoming all of his guests. Toasts can be offered to the whole table or people sitting around you and they are usually ushered in with "gam bei." Even though gam bei toasts are offered through the night, you only have to

empty your class on the first one when people drain their glasses and show each other the empty glass (ladies are supposed to take only a sip). The Chinese generally don't touch glasses with each other during a toast. The Chinese often drink shaohsing (red rice wine) when making toasts and beer between toasts. It is not customary for guests to drink only when making or receiving toasts. The first toast is frequently a general one, with everyone drinking together, usually as soon as the first dish is presented. After this it is general practice for all at the table to toast others, starting with host/hostess toasting the guest of honor. It is not necessary to give a short speech when making a toast but is common to specify the kind of toast. The most usual toast is gam bei. Other toasts include sui bian ('drink as you please"), sui yi ("drink a little"), or ban bei ("drink just half the glass"). The whole table often drinks together when new dishes arrive.

Drinking, Business and Banquets in China

Ritualized drinking is big part of conducting business and getting things accomplished in China. Banquets are a standard welcoming gesture and prerequisite to getting down to business.

Hosts lose face if their guests are perceived as not having a good time and the key to making sure they do so is making sure they get enough to drink Officials drinking and feasting during lunchtime banquets is a big problem in China. Ordinary Chinese are outraged because cadres are often so drunk after lunch they can not do their jobs and the money to pay for the banquets often comes from public funds.


Success in Business in China

According to Chinese philosophy three factor are key to success: timing and climate, location and human relations. Now there is widespread belief that if you work hard, study hard and take advantage of opportunities that appear success will come your way. Many feel that the real secret to getting ahead in the Chinese business world and understanding Chinese business customs is understanding which Communist official is in

charge of which sector, how to pacify Chinese rivals and the art of giving bribes to the right people.

Connections in China
Connections (guanxi) and family bonds and informal networks of relationships and obligations are very important in business and life in China. Sometimes it seems like everything is done with the help of a personal contact. If you can't find someone with a service you need you find someone knows someone who does. Connections are often more important than qualifications or education background when it comes to hiring new employees.. Banking decisions are often made based on connections and government policy considerations rather than on economic fundamentals and good commercial credit guidelines.

Working Habits in China

China has traditionally had an obedient work force, which helps keep management costs low. Photographs of Chinese factories often show rows of workers with no supervisors in sight. In some work places it is not uncommon to have only 15 mangers for 5,000 workers. Working together is expressed by the Chinese proverb: Eight hermits sail the ocean with the might of each other. Its not only cheap labor that drives Chinas economy. Chinese workers are hard working and efficient. Marril Weigrod, a consultant for China Strategies, told the New York Times: Culturally the Chinese put a very high premium on not losing face. In manufacturing, that translates into not making mistakes on the production line. Their self-discipline and their ability to adapt are key factors in driving Chinese competitiveness. If one worker is not up to snuff there is another worker waiting in the wings to take his place.

Private Property Laws in China

In February 2007, China approved a property rights law that protects private property along the lines of similar laws in Europe and the United States, creating the viability of private property rather maintaining the principal of state property. According to the law:: The property of the state, the collective, the individual and other obliges is protected by law, and no units or individuals may infringe upon it. The law states that savings investment and gains are be protected by the law. The infringement on property rights, such as abusing power to arbitrarily seize property will be prohibited The laws states that if land or other property is expropriated fair compensation must be offered. The new property rights laws was aimed at giving foreign companies more confidence to operate in China and prevent land seizures. It was seen as signal that China was truly becoming a market economy. The move was opposed by leftists who said it would undermine the states control of the economy and help the rich at the expense of the poor and elevated private property to same status as the state. The new law went against one the primary principals of socialism: that private property is a bad thing because it has traditionally been used by the rich to exploit the poor. The Chinese word for Communism, gongchan zhuyi, literally means theology of sharing property. Under the Communists, land was owned and controlled by the state. People who used land have traditionally been given land use rightsoften 70 year leases rather than title to private property. In the case of farmers, land was sometimes easily and arbitrarily taken away by the state or local authorities with little or no compensation. See Private Wells, Energy. Land Seizures, Agriculture. Other property laws has been passed in recent years. In 2004, the Chinese legislature moved to amend the constitution to allow full protection for private property. The amendment, stated that private property obtained legally shall not be violated. A constitutional change on in 1999 declared private business an important component of the economy but failed to clearly defines the rights of entrepreneurs and their property.

Management and Business in China

Hierarchy is important in Chinese business. Deference is shown to superiors. Paternalism is shown to subordinates. Decisions are usually made at the top and orders are issued through the chain of command. In regards to big problems, low level employees are rarely blamed; their superiors receive the blame. Foreign managers sometimes have difficulty working in China. An American owner of a software company told the New York Times, Chinese people individually are very, very smart, but many, many people together are sometimes stupid. We arent good at managing projects. We can sometimes get 70 or 80 people working together, but 1,000 people. Impossible Standard business practices such as record-keeping and accounting are not widely practiced and when they are are not through. It is relatively easy to hide money. Failure is not tolerated. Most Chinese grew up in a economic environment where stateowned enterprises never failed. In the rough and tumble world of capitalism, with risks and

winners and losers, losers are frowned upon. They often have a hard time making a comeback because of the loss of face they suffered in their first failure. Superstitions often play a part in business and decision making. Fortune tellers are consulted today by supervisors making hiring choices; and by store owners picking names of their business, the most auspicious time to open, and the best floor plan and orientation of the rooms. After consulting a fortuneteller one restauranteur told the New York Times he decided to open his business in the slow season because the date was auspicious and to relocate his kitchen because rooms with fire should face south. According to one survey, the majority of business people believe in the god of fortune.

Capitalism and Democracy in China

It was originally thought by some in the West that an emerging class of entrepreneurs and businessmen would push for democracy in China but by absorbing many of them into the system and the Communist Party and establishing links between the state and business so that it is difficulty to tell where the public sector leaves off and the private sector begins the Communist Party has been able to subdue any challenge the business community may have presented to its grip on power. To get ahead businessmen generally need access to state bank loans and contacts with officials that control land, government contacts and bureaucratic authorizations they

Strategy for Foreign Companies in China

Jeffrey E. Garten of Wharton School of Business told the New York Times, "The Pepsis, the AT&Tts, the Honeywells and General Electric are really in it for the long term. They have very sophisticated strategies. They have really dug in and invested in Chinese communities built education institutions in China and developed webs of connections with all levels of Chinese society." He also said, "many small companies tend to get carried away by the hype that China has suddenly become a market economy...There are pockets of it. But in order to succeed in China today, you have to establish yourself as an entity that is aligned with the government's long term goals. That does not mean Communism but it does mean training people and showing you are not a fly-by-night company and you actually care about Chinese society." The Western companies who made the greatest profits are those that sell cheap consumer items such as Coca Cola and McDonald's, and have utilized China's cheap labor. Many companies that have made money in China have used China as a platform for manufacturing or exporting. Few have been able to cash in China 1.3 billion person market as has been hoped. Foreign companies try to create strong bonds with the leadership in Beijing for no other reason than to sweep away obstacles created by local officials.


Exchanging business cards Personal relations are an integral part of doing business in China. Chinese tend to look down on the American way of putting the bottom line before human beings and their habit of solving problem through litigation rather than personal contact. An American professor attributes the Chinese's success not to the fact they work harder but that they work together. Politicking and developing gaunxi can not be emphasized enough. By some calculations senior company representatives need to spend 30 percent to 40 percent of their time buttering up officials and regulators. Chinese tend to put more faith in personal contacts that contracts. A signature on a contract is often viewed only as the first step in a negotiation. Sometimes Chinese have few qualms about violating the terms of contract but are reluctant to lose face with some they respect for or have a close relationship with. Seniority is often regarded as more important than achievement or skill. If you do business in China it is a good idea to have someone over 50 representing your company. The Chinese respect age. Additionally, Foreigners doing business are advised to have almost exaggerated respect for China and its culture and do their part to make amends for the century of humiliation dealt to China by foreigners in the past. Chinese like to do business in person rather than on the phone. They also greatly appreciate Western partners or clients who are knowledgeable about Chinese culture. One American businessman told the New York Times, Its a very unique culture, and its very closed. You really have to gain their confidence first.

Contacting Chinese Clients

It can be difficult to approach a Chinese firm directly. Generally you need an introduction from a third party, ideally someone who knows you and the people you wish to contact. If

you don't know anyone in the company you wish to contact there are companies and consulting firms that specialize in being third parties. The Chinese usually exchange cards upon introduction. A businessman will usually distribute 200 or 300 cards a year, if not more. During first time meetings business cards are usually exchanged but not with the degree of protocol and formally as with Japanese. Everybody hands out business cards. Guests are supposed to offer their cards first. Accept a business card with both hands, read it, nod and place it in your wallet. It is considered rude to put a business card in your pocket without reading it first. Try to have a business card printed in English on one side and Chinese on the other. Make sure it has your title on it and the business card looks good and is not bent or soiled. On their first official visit to China foreign companies are advised not to send their top people. It is a bad idea to appear overeager. One former businesswoman in Shanghai told the Washington Post, If you are in a hurry, you are a loser. See, E-mail and phone messages, Internet

Entertaining Chinese Clients

When figuring out the business expenses, Chinese companies often figure in 5 percent of their operating costs as gifts and entertainment. The owner of a factory making a new product usually makes the rounds of potential clients, giving out gifts of cigarettes and liquor as he goes. It is sometimes customary for foreigners to offer clients or potential clients a gift. A bottle of Scotch or some good imported wine is usually appreciated. Entertaining is a big part of business in China. It often revolves around banquets. Wait for Chinese contacts to invite you and don't feel obligated to pay them pack. The ordering is usually done for you. See Banquets, Chinese business dinners tend to be men-only affairs with a lot of drinking and sometimes a visit to a karaoke or hostess bar (where women are paid to flatter customers), or even a brothel. includes prostitutes. Chinese hosts sometimes feel they lose face if their foreign friends dont indulge themselves and have a good time. Business Gift Giving in China Any time is an occasion for giving a gift, Christine Lu, chief executive of the luxury investment group Affinity China, told the New York Times. Its customary and will say a lot about your character, what you know and your intentions. Gifts should not be expensive, so they are mistaken for bribes, Cynthia Lett, founder and director of the Lett Group, a protocol training company said. If youre going to give something pricey, it has to be something with your logo on it, or it has to have some relevance to your business. You give it to the organization or the institution; you do not give it to the individual for his or her own use. [Source: International Herald Tribune Business Navigator, January 3, 2011] Choosing gifts that take traditional Chinese beliefs into account may not be necessary these days, but it is always better to be cautious. Ms. Lett suggests selecting books of photographs

or items handmade by local artisans. She tells the story of a business group from the U.S. state of Georgia that could not come up with a new gift idea. The group had already given books on Georgia and the U.S. national parks, so we ended up making a ruler with all of the different colors of granite that they had in their quarries there. It was 12 different colors. And it went over fabulously. [Ibid] Wrap gifts in red, which is considered lucky; avoid black, white and blue, colors that are used for funerals. Giving eight of anything is considered good luck, while four is bad. (The word for four sounds like the word for death.) Do not give clocks or watches (which suggest a time limit on the relationship) or anything sharp like scissors or a letter opener (cutting off the relationship). [Ibid] When it comes to presenting gifts, know that tradition says they are offered and refused three times. Today, the refuse thrice rule exists but is not followed super strictly, says Laurie Underwood of China Europe International Business School. In general, it is expected that you will politely refuse a gift at first or an offer to dinner or a snack or use of an umbrella several times before accepting it, and that if you offer a gift or food to a Chinese guest, they would first refuse it, even if they really want it. So do remember to keep offering if a client refuses something. It is awkward when a foreigner only offers once, she says. [Ibid] And do not wait for holidays. Do you know how many moon cakes people get at the MidAutumn Festival? Ms. Lu says. They all get stacked up at the door, and you forget who gave what. Give a gift when it is appropriate, she urges. Thats when it will mean the most, especially if it looks like a lot of thought went into it. [Ibid]

Chinese Meeting and Office Customs

Meeting of factory cadres For meetings and negotiations men should wear dark-colored suits and conservative ties; women should also wear a suit in conservative color. Taking off your jacket is acceptable if your Chinese counterparts do the same. At business meetings presentations should addressed to the most senior person present. Low level employees don't speak up unless they are spoken to. If tea or another drink is offered to you accept it even if you don't want it. Accept drinks that are offered with both hands. Don't schedule meetings for lunchtime or around holidays. Give yourself plenty of time in China so you have the flexibility to reschedule or have additional meetings. Bone up on

Chinese customs and history. The Chinese are very proud of their past. Avoid any mention of Taiwan or Tibet. Conferences are typically dry affairs with boring speeches, swapping of business cards, and banquets full of dishes and toasts. When writing don't use red ink. Some regard it as bad luck. Don't tell your contacts when you are leaving. They may try to postpone an agreement until the last minute. Offices are generally open. Private offices are generally only held by top managers. Team work is emphasized over individual initiative. It is considered rude to complain directly to a superior. The Chinese often deal through an intermediary or have subtle, ways of getting their messages across. Ass kissing and looking busy are condoned behavior. Preparedness is greatly valued. Sometimes Chinese businessmen look down on American businesses for being unprepared and lacking knowledge of Chinese and international methods of doing business. Punctuality and reliability are greatly valued, even though Chinese are not great practitioners of these virtues. Give yourself plenty of time, allowing for traffic delays and such, and don't be late. However, Chinese sometimes overlook themselves and postpones meetings at the last moment.

Businesswomen and Behavior in China

In general, Chinese tend to be less fussy about women colleagues, says Ms. Underwood of China Europe International Business School. For example, a young staffer would rush to open the door for his boss but leave his female colleagues to open their own door. Meanwhile, a female Chinese assistant would feel very awkward if her male Western boss opened the door for her. [Source: International Herald Tribune Business Navigator, January She makes suggestions about dress with that assessment in mind, especially for the mainland: You have to keep a sense of modesty. Your dress should be, if youre wearing a skirt, knee-length or longer. If youre wearing a blouse, it should be long-sleeve, not shortsleeve. Slacks are O.K., if theyre well tailored. They should be neutral in colors. Brown, black, dark blue really good colors. They dont like high heels in business. So keep it two inches or lower, or five centimeters. And cleavage should be eliminated completely. They dont go for cleavage. They dont go for anything suggestive at all. So keep it conservative. [Ibid]

Chinese Negotiating Customs

The Chinese way of negotiating takes long and is much ritualized than the American and Western way. Foreign business often have to make several trips to China to establish a business relationship and set up a deal. One United States government official in China "nothing much happens before the end game."

Chinese business tend to engage in a lot of small talk and ask questions about your university and company before negotiating or talking business. This is done because establishing personal relations is important in business and jumping right into business is considered rude. English usually isn't a problem. Most companies have people that speak English pretty well. It is a good idea to begin negotiations by praising the Chinese company you are negotiating with and focusing on the positive aspects of doing business together. Don't be too aggressive or pushy. Direct your pitch at the highest ranking person rather the one who speaks the best English. Avoid surprises, be patient, respect lucky and unlucky days and numbers and don't smile or laugh too much. Bargaining and horse trading are taken very seriously. There is a saying in China that without a fight, you dont get to know each other. Chinese often present themselves as poor, developing Chinese and Westerners as rich foreigners and attempt to use that position to their advantage and expect a few breaks. But otherwise they negotiate from a win or lose approach. Many Westerners complain they take much more than they are willing to give.

Chinese-Style Business Practices

Chinese are known as risk takers. Their thinking sometimes goes that opportunities are rare and they must be pursued aggressively when they occur. Whole families will sometimes invest great sums of money on the chances of one member to get ahead. And, there is often an emphasis on getting rich while you can. Chinese businesses have been criticized for going after quick profits rather than looking out of the long term interest of their companies. When starting a business Americans often go to the bank for a loan, Chinese go to friends and relatives, maybe getting the equivalent of $1,000 from one person, $2,000 from another person and maybe twenty thousand from a close relative. We trust each other, so no interest. He know I do the same for him one day." Many Chinese business owners like to run their companies on instinct and with total central. They Shut excessive meeting, dont field question and dont provide explanations and dont tolerate a loot debate. With a firm, centered hierarchy many Chinese feel that workers spend more time talking than working. John Howkins wrote in The Australian, Marketing and PR are primitive. Reputations can rise and fall without much base in reality. Newspaper coverage favors those who have government connections or pay for it. [Source: John Howkins, The Australian July 28, 2008] See Superstitions. On working in China, the film producer Ismail Merchant said. People dont like saying yes here. They think about things, and say you cant do that when there a shooting schedule to keep. Architects working in China voice similar complaints. Many businesses have traditionally sought out customers by going from street to street shouting or making some noise to advertise their products. In the old days melon-seed vendors walked around banging brass gongs, chanting "Easily opened! Oh so easily opened." Joining them were clothiers banging on leather drums, fortunetellers with bamboo flutes, fruit

sellers clanging on brass bowls, and barbers hammering large tuning forks. Even today people spend a lot of time at home doing their chores and the noise made by vendors lets homeowners know they are coming. Today watermelon and eggs sellers use the same methods, only they travel around in small pick trucks and hand carts using speakers connected to a tape player that repeat the same message over and over. Customers used to slip their hands up the long sleeves of merchants and bargain with squeezes to the wrist so onlookers would not know how much they were paying.

Culture and Business in China

A number of elite Chinese financier have a passion for the arts. Xiang Junbo, president of the Agricultural Bank of China, has written screenplays. Wang Yi, vice-president of the China Development Bank, which owns 3 percent of Barclays, has received praise for music compositions. Tang, the calligrapher mentione above has penned poetry, written a short biography of Zhou Enlai, Mao Zedong's faithful premier, and made pilgrimages to the towns of ancient poets Li Bai and Su Dongpo. [Ibid] For successful people at that level, it's very fashionable to talk about Chinese poetry and traditions,Jia Lin Xie, a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, told Reuters. You can show deep down that, apart from your business success, you are deeply involved in Chinese culture, she said. For the CEO of a big bank like Everbright, business success is almost a given but they want to establish a name. They want to be different in competing with other banks, Xie said. [Ibid] Yet for every calligrapher-cum-banker such as Tang, there are dozens more entrepreneurs whose highest art form is karaoke. Many business people in China grew up during the chaotic height of the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, when traditions were overturned and education was interrupted. [Ibid] Insecure about their grounding in Chinese heritage, they seek quick fixes, Jeongwen Chiang, a professor at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, told Reuters. Some try to elevate themselves to acquire more culture, he said. They might participate in artsy events, exhibits or auctions. By amassing some art, they feel they may fill some of that void. Cultivating calligraphy and poetry can set the more established business leaders apart from nouveau rich newcomers, such as miners or factory owners that have struck it rich. [Ibid]

Confucianism and Business in China

That businessmen want to prove their artistic bona fides is part of a deeper trend of Confucian beliefs reasserting themselves in China.One Confucian ideal that doesnt mesh well with China's booming economy is Confuciuss condemnation of self-interested behavior. In doing this he made profit-seeking business appear crass and undesirable to Chinese through the centuries. [Source: Simon Rabinovitch, Reuters, Washington Post, July 28, 2008] For about 2000 years, people used to look down on business people and that's very deeprooted, Jia Lin Xie, a professor at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, told Reuters. Xie said. So you want people to know that you're a Confucianstyle businessman, Xie said. That's not the same as an ordinary businessman, because you're a businessman with culture. [Ibid]

Like a lion opening its bloody mouth is Chinese proverb for voracious greed. The distaste for money talk also filters into business relations between Chinese and foreigners, a potentially uncomfortable point for Westerners who are used to talking through deals in detail. Gervais Lavoie, a Canadian businessman who has run companies in China for more than two decades, told Reuters meeting face-to-face with his Chinese counterparts is essential but that they are more likely to debate philosophical issues than negotiate contracts. We barely talk business. It's like, why do you want to lose your time talking about business?

Informal Lending in China

Elaine Kurtenbach of Associated Press wrote: The true scale of informal lending nationwide, much of it derived from bank loans originally intended for other purposes, is unknown. But such lending has ballooned because the reluctance of China's state-run banks to lend to small and medium-sized businesses has been compounded by government curbs on credit to cool inflation. Interest charged by private lenders can be as high as 90 percent, inviting comparisons with dodgy investment schemes. [Source: Elaine Kurtenbach, Associated Press, October 18, 2011] UBS economist Tao Wang puts informal lending at between 2 trillion yuan to 4 trillion yuan ($314 billion-$628 billion), or up to 10 percent of China's GDP. There is little immediate impact on China's massive state-run banks from some of these loans turning bad. A bigger risk is Wenzhou's credit squeeze spreading to other parts of the world's No. 2 economy.


Woman shopping for electronics in Shanghai Cash is used for most transactions. Credit cards and even checks are not widely used. Most Chinese dont even have bank accounts. Money is often stashed away in a closet or under blanket or some such place. Although disposable income is rising, most households remain obsessed with saving because the social safety net is so flimsy. Haggling, bargaining and making deals are fixtures of economic life: between businessman and client, vendor and customer, boss and employee. The direction and outcome of the haggling goes often depends on who has the power. Chinese like to bargain and squabble over even small purchases. The Chinese are still not big consumers, spenders or buyers. China only consumes about half what it produces. Private household consumption accounts for only about 37 percent of Chinas GDP the smallest share of any major economy. It fell to 36.4 percent of GDP in 2006 form 37.7 percent in 2005 and 49 percent in 1990. In the United States and India household consumption rates are 70 percent and 61 percent respectively. Low consumption makes the economy too reliant on investment and government spending to maintain growth. Household savings are as high as 50 percent. People save money n part to compensate for meager pensions and poor health care. The average Chinese household consumes one fourteenth what the average American household does. In the 1990s, household income accounted for 72 percent of Chinas GDP, By 2007 it had fallen to 55 percent. The government regulates the price for many consumer goods and service to avoid social unrest. Until the 1990s, people needed to ration coupons to purchase things like sugar and cooking oil.

Large numbers of people that couldnt before can now afford televisions, refrigerators, and personal computers and even air conditioners and cars. But at the same time people who didnt worry and education and health care costs in the past can be pushed into debt sending a child to high school or university or paying for descent medical care for a loved one in a hospital. Among the worries that ordinary Chinese have are the high cost urban housing, education and future jobs for their children and inflation. Many complain about the conspicuous consumption of the nouveau riche and corruption among party officials. David Pierson wrote in the Los Angeles Times, Chinese households are already famously frugal and with good reason. A flimsy social safety net means tens of millions must save for their own education, healthcare and retirement. And while consumer spending has been rising along with China's prosperity, it has done so almost in spite of an economic model geared almost exclusively toward production rather than domestic consumption.

Shopping at a stall in Suzhou Young urbanites are often the biggest spenders in China. On American marketing specialist told the Los Angeles Times, Its weird economics. In China, the 50-year-olds arent the ones with the money, its the 25-year-olds. Disposable income in the cities was up 17.2 percent in 2007. Chinese cant change their yuan into foreign currency and have limited options on what they can do with their money: other than putting it in the bank, buying insurance or government bonds or investing in stocks. John Howkins wrote in The Australian, Old-fashioned communist attitudes lurk. Until a few years ago, students were forbidden to wear jewelry. The Government said it was ostentatious and a waste of money. Modesty was all. Even today, many students feel obliged to give any spare cash to their parents. [Source: John Howkins, The Australian July 28, 2008]

Love of Money in China

In the Mao era Chinese prides themselves on their frugality and desire to serve the people but that sentiments seems to something that existed in the distant past. One Chinese man told the New York Times, The things we care about most in China now are money, money, and money. Another said, Its all money-grubbing. Many Chinese have lost their sense or morality and ethics. Chinese have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and powerful desire to succeed in business. If they fail at one thing they try something else. A history professor told Theroux, "the Chinese are interested only in two things in the worldpower and money." One woman told the New York Times, "Chinese people never talked so much about money before. Now they are always talking about salaries and stocks and joint ventures "Chinese people will always want a bargain,"

Instead of signing their name, Chinese stamp their name on forms, bank withdrawal slips and letters with a chop, or signature stamp). Without a chop one can't open a bank account in China or register for a university class. One professor told the Los Angeles Times, "I don't exist in this society without my chop." [Source: Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times, November 28, 2001] Chops are cylinders about the size of a piece of chalk. They have the persons name carved at one end in Chinese characters and they leave an imprint after being stamped in ink

Everyone from the President to a homeless man living in a park has a chop, and they are used for everything from finalizing a multi-million-dollar business deal to signing for packages delivered to ones house. At some businesses if you forget your chop, no problem, theyll let you use someone elses. The average Chinese has five chops but only one is registered with the government to certify ownership and it is only used on important documents. Since these seals are considered too valuable to carry around, people have other seals to use for things like bank transactions and taking deliveries. Many government documents have several chop stamps. According one estimate a typical bureaucrats puts his chop on 100,000 documents in a 25 year career. Chops have a 5,000 year history. Signature seals, which operates according the same concept, were used in ancient Mesopotamia and China. Japan's oldest example of writing is a solid-gold chop dated to A.D. 57. Thousand of years ago Chinese used the imprints of fingers as a way of signing contracts.

Consumption and Shopping in China

Personal consumption accounts for about 40 percent of GDP in China, compared with about 70 percent in the U.S. Nevertheless consumption in China is growing at a robust 8 percent a year. Crowds at Apple stores and Pizza Hut outlets in the country's biggest cities point to pent-up demand. China's newly minted millionaires are attracting luxury brands including Porsche and Cartier. [Source: David Pierson, Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2011] Chinese officials have repeatedly said they intend to promote greater domestic consumption. Peter Hurst, a broker with Sterling International Brokers in London, says hes concerned China will struggle to complete the transition. Yes, there are 1.3 billion people in China, he says. But are they rich enough to become consumers? Although disposable income is rising, most households remain obsessed with saving because the social safety net is so flimsy. Individuals must shoulder most of the expense for their own healthcare, education and retirement. Many shopping malls in China are empty or occupied by people who are not buying. David Pierson wrote in the Los Angeles Times, The country may be better able to weather any global recession when ordinary citizens such as Cheng Yaohua start opening their wallets at the Care City Shopping Mall instead of using it as a place to cool off on summer afternoons.A migrant from central Henan province, Cheng earns $300 a month. He admired the styles on display in the window of the Gap store. But he shops in flea markets instead. "The clothes over there cost a tenth of my monthly salary," said Cheng, a 22-year-old cellphone salesman, nodding at the multi-story Gap. "After I paid for rent and food, I'd have nothing left if I bought something there." [Source: David Pierson, Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2011]

Chinese Women Consumers

Shopping in Beijing Women are among the biggest consumers and the important forces propelling the economy forward. A 2009 survey by Women Of China magazine fund that Chinese women in 10 cities spent 63 percent of their income shopping, a large jump from 26 percent in 2007. They spent most of their money on clothes (30 percent), followed b electronic products (11 percent) and travel (10 percent). Ben Cavender, of the Shanghai-based China Market Research group told the Strait Times, Chinese women, especially in the past couple of years, have emerged as the dominant spending force...Where China used to be different from other markets in that men here dominate the luxury market, Chinese women are fast catching up, contributing half of luxury spending now compared with just 20 percent in the 1990s. Their spending power and influence on the economy is also growing as they earn more. Young working women are increasingly become major forces in the Chinese economy. Those with good salaries, by Chinese standards, of few a hundred dollars a month think nothing of plopping down $400 for a new cell phone with the latest 3G and MP3 features or $700 a new snowboard and gear to go with it even though they have yet to tried the sport. A 28-year-old female hotel clerk told the Strait Times she had spent $590 for a Nokia smart phone and $1,180 for a gold necklace and shopped for clothes and in online. Sometimes I see a blouse that I really like and it comes in three colors, she said. I cant decide so I buy them all. Since I can earn that money again anyway, why not spend it? An economic advisor for MasterCard told Reuters, Urban women consumers will be spending much of their hard-earned cash on personal travel and related cultural and recreational activities, dinning out shopping, as well as buying cars and pursuing urban leisure lifestyles. Their spending habits, economists hope will offset the conservative spending habits of most Chinese and make the economic less reliant on investment. Favored brands by female consumers include LVMH, Christian Dior, Valentino, Swatch, Nokia and Coca-Cola.

Superconsuming Chinese Single Women

xiaobailing (white-collar princesses) are arguable the fastest-growing consumer class in China, perhaps the world. Jonathan Watts wrote in The Guardian, They have high levels of disposable income and a craving for designer labels. For marketing moguls, they are the future face of consumer power. State planners forecast that half the population will be middle class by 2020.[Source: Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, June 26, 2010, , edited from When A Billion Chinese Jump by Jonathan Watts Faber, 2010 ] In his book When A Billion Chinese Jump Watts introduces us to Emily Zhang Huijia, a connoisseur of consumption in Shanghai. A fashionista since her teens, she has worked for Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel, and says she was brought up on Vogue, Glamour and OK! magazines. [Ibid] By western standards, her childhood was not privileged, Watts wrote. In 1985, when she was three, her family got its first color television. In 1992, around the time the first Barbies went on sale in China, they bought their first air-conditioner; so did everyone in the neighborhood. The Zhangs had their first fixed phone line installed when Emily was six. By the time she was 16, they were connected to the internet. My family in the UK had a phone three generations before Emily's, but her parents went online four years earlier than mine. [Ibid] Most of her friends are in the industry and they share information about discounts and sample sales. At her first sale, she blew a third of her salary on Fendi sunglasses. It is like a fever, she says. The price is so low, you cannot refuse...Like many a proud shopper, Emily lists how much she saved rather than how much she spent. She is wearing a half-price Dior watch reduced by 2,900 yuan (286). In her 40 sq m flat near Fuxing Park, she has dozens of other bags, accessories and clothes, including an Armani coat for 999 yuan (98), discounted from 9,900 (976). Compared with friends, she says, she is restrained. [Ibid] In the last three years, Emily's monthly salary has increased from 3,000 yuan to just under 20,000, putting her firmly in the middle-class bracket. She eats at restaurants at weekends, has a French boyfriend, plays poker every Thursday. Business and pleasure are mixed. Her favorite after-hours hangout, she says, is the building where she works. Bund 18 has the coolest nightclub in Shanghai, so it's probably also the coolest in China. [Ibid]

Young Chinese Consumers

The spending habits of 350 million Chinese aged 18 to 35 are seen as crucial to boosting the world's recovery from recession and to, one day, vaulting China past the US as the world's largest consumer market. That could come as early as 2020, according to Goldman Sachs, the investment banking giant. "This isn't your grandma or a housewife cutting out Sunday newspaper coupons in her kitchen. They [the coupon users] are the future," said Leeon Zhu, a senior planner at the advertising firm Young and Rubicam's Shanghai office. "And they're at the forefront of retail consumption growth in this country." [Source: Chi-Chi Zhang, The Independent, January 9 2011] The biggest target is the 18-35 age bracket, born after the chaos of radical Maoism. They have largely known steadily rising incomes. "Young Chinese consumers love to spend and rarely save because they are optimistic that they'll always have money," said Fu Guoqun, a marketing professor at Beijing University. Ms Shan, 23, concedes that discounts get her to buy more than she would otherwise. Her bag is stuffed with McDonald's coupons and other

discount cards. "I'm obsessed," she said. "Whether it's at work or home, I'm dreaming of the next deal."

Young Chinese Bargain Hunters and Coupon Cutters

Chi-Chi Zhang wrote in The Independent,Ding Can is obsessed with bargains. Her purse is crammed with more than 30 discount cards and dozens of coupons. Her apartment is packed with freebies, from cosmetic samples to key chains. She often lines up before dawn for tickets to discounted movies. Her yen for savings isn't out of necessity. The software testing engineer, 32, is relatively well off. She says, simply, "I've never come across a good deal I didn't like." More than a craze, discount shopping is becoming a way of life for young Chinese. Known as the "coupon generation", they are changing the way business is done in the world's second largest economy. [Source: Chi-Chi Zhang, The Independent, January 9 2011] Companies as global as Nike and as local as the Yonghe fast-food chain are courting the bargain hunters. The eagerness for deals has spawned discount clubs, online group-buying and pavement kiosks that dispense coupons. A planned three-week campaign by MercedesBenz for its two-seat Smart car was over in less than four hours when more than 200 cars were snapped up from China's most popular online retailer for 135,000 yuan (13,000) each, a 20 per cent discount. It's a relatively new and youth-oriented phenomenon in China, where consumerism has taken off as the country has shifted from central planning to capitalism. People in Western countries have been clipping coupons for years Coca-Cola began offering discounts around the start of the 20th century. But in China, the trend has implications for the global economy. Ms Ding and other members of "Discounts for Singles", an online forum, traded war stories at a spicy Chinese restaurant recently. Ms Ding showed off a sports watch she earned by taking photos of herself in front of a Lenovo computer store during a promotional event. A dining partner regaled the others with her latest steal: two dozen half-priced cartons of fruit juice at 4 yuan a carton. "How are you going to drink all the juice?" one asked. "I'll give it away to friends and family as gifts," said Shan Yunfei, who makes about 320 a month as an administrative assistant at an architecture firm. "They love it when I bring home new products." Even the dinner is free. New eateries looking for publicity offer meals to people such as Ms Ding and Ms Shan, who are frequent reviewers on, China's most popular restaurant listing site. Frugality is highly valued in China, a legacy of generations of poverty. Savvy consumers are applauded by friends and family. Television shows such as Beijing's popular Managing Money broadcast interviews with Chinese who made big savings through group-buying events and promotional deals. There are coupon kiosks in subways, shopping centres and supermarkets, and almost every major brand offers a discount card. Eyeball China, a Beijing-based company, prints 170,000 coupons every day for restaurants, car rentals and other goods and services and places them in about 200 kiosks across the capital. "The market is so saturated with brand names that a small discount makes a huge difference, helping the brand stand out with their target consumers," said Xie Dehui, Eyeball China's vice general manager.

Amy Yu, an estate agent, stopped to collect more than a dozen coupons for Yonghe restaurant's noodles and McDonald's chicken burgers at a kiosk outside French hypermarket Carrefour in southern Beijing. Ms Yu looked like a pro. She pecked furiously at the kiosk's touch screen, scanning for the best deals. The machine, which is in front of a Yonghe shop, spews out coupon after coupon for up to 16p off meals priced between 1 and 2.50. "I work and eat around here, so I usually print a lot of coupons that look good regardless of whether or not I use them," she said. "It's also thoughtful to give them out to colleagues and friends, too.

Chinese Shopping Habits

drinks in a supermarket The Chinese really havent been consuming very long. In the Mao era there wasnt much to buy. Now conspicuous consumption is fashionable, particularly in the coastal cities in the east and south and in Shanghai, and many urban Chinese spend their free time on the weekends at Western-style shopping malls. Consumer spending is highest among this between 20 and 49. The people born after 1980, when the economic reforms began ti take shape, are the real driving force of the consumer economy in China, Chinese often shop at several different places a vegetable stand, a meat vendor and egg seller, for example buying small quantities at each stop and putting what they buy into a different plastic bag at each place. Customers sometimes ask shop keeper to provide a bag for each thing they buy, in some cases for each individual egg. Small store owners often sells items like rice, peanuts, eggs and sugar by weight and gave them to customers in flimsy plastic bags. In the Mao era, customers had their purchases wrapped in paper and carried them home in cloth or net bags. The practice continued until the 1980s when people began shopping more and more at supermarkets and carrying their purchases home in plastic bags. By the mid 2000s, three billion were being even out everyday, with many Chinese thinking nothing of tossing them to wind, creating a gargantuan litter problem. See Recycling, Environment, Nature Because of a lack of refrigeration, the Chinese have developed the habit of keeping a potential meal alive as long as possible. Fish and lobster at restaurants are kept in tanks and ducks and pigs are slaughtered shortly before they are sold. When transported, pigs are

inhumanely placed in cramped cages and stacked on three-decker vans. Thirty or forty are sometimes tied together and carried on the back of a bicycle. Wal-mart appeals to local tastes by offering popular Chinese products like live frogs and eels and turtle blood. Some stores offers live river fish, eels and turtles that are slaughtered right on the spot. Sometimes customers catch them in fish tanks with nets, watch as a clerk guts and cleans them and takes them home in plastic bags along with the bloody organs. Shoppers turned up their noses at the idea of buying dead fish wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam. By 2010, seven of the 10 largest shopping malls in the world will be in China.

High Prices Chinese Pay for Made-in-Chinese Exported Products

Chinese consumers pay $2,760 for a laptop computer at the Apple flagship store in Beijing, about 20 percent more than an American buyer would spend at an Apple in the United States. David Pierson wrote in the Los Angeles Times, The premium prices aren't limited to foreign-branded computers. Kobe Bryant's Nike sneakers with the Made in China label go for $165 in the U.S. But at an official Nike store in China? $190. A flat-screen Sony TV assembled by Chinese laborers runs about $800 at a Best Buy store in the U.S. But you'd pay 30 percent more at the popular Chinese appliance chain Gome. The same goes for that Maclaren Techno XT infant stroller. It's also manufactured here, but you'll typically pay 40 percent more for one at a Beijing mall than you would in the U.S. [Source: David Pierson, Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2010] It's a paradox of life here in the world's factory floor. The place known for delivering lowcost goods to Western consumers doesn't always do the same for its own people....Products made in China often cost more there than in the West The premium prices frustrate shoppers as well as those who see getting Chinese consumers to open their wallets as crucial to balancing the global economy. Then there are taxes and levies. That Apple laptop is made at a factory that's granted a rebate on China's 17 percent value added tax, as long as those computers are exported and sold abroad. Chinese buyers aren't so fortunate. Before that same machine can be sold domestically, it is first sent to Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, then returned to the mainland with a 20 percent import tariff, industry experts said. The price penalty is frustrating to savvy Chinese consumers who know what things cost elsewhere thanks to the Internet and their own shopping trips abroad. "When I saw the prices at an outlet mall in New York, I thought it was crazy how much we were paying in China," said Joanna Tong, 22, a Beijing native who has vacationed in the U.S. "It's not fair. Now that I know the prices in the U.S., I've been reluctant to shop here at all." Still, some foreign companies have made a conscious decision to raise their prices in China, or they've adopted a strategy of marketing their products as luxury items to make up for the higher cost of doing business. That might seem counterintuitive in a nation where the typical urban resident last year earned about $2,800. But high-priced goods carry cachet here, while China's consumer class is burgeoning. High prices can boost the prestige of some products while fattening the manufacturer's bottom line.

Take Budweiser. The beer that Joe Six-pack drinks in the U.S. is considered a premium brand in China. A can sells for about 25 cents more than local suds in grocery stores, even though it's brewed locally. Buick's LaCrosse sedan is seen by some here as a rival to the BMW 3-series. It's priced about 23 percent more than in the U.S., even though it's assembled in China by laborers earning a fraction of their U.S. counterparts. And Haagen-Dazs ice cream, a staple of U.S. convenience stores, can fetch $12 a pint in some upscale cafes in China. "In China, people equate high prices with high quality," said Shuan Rein, managing director of China Market Research. "Brands know that if their products are too cheap it will push consumers away." The psychology, analysts say, is about making aspiring consumers feel like they're buying a piece of the middle class. The pull can be even stronger when Chinese purchase gifts to show respect. "If I'm buying for friends or clients, I could never buy a Chinese brand," advertising agent Liu Hao said. "It's about face." The painstaking task of moving goods around the country is another factor driving up prices. Logistics companies rarely consist of more than a handful of employees and a single truck, said William McCahill, vice chairman of Pacific Epoch, a Shanghai-based research firm. Freight carriers often are reluctant to cross provincial borders because of local fees, meaning that goods often have to pass from one distributor to another, depending on geography. "There is no national logistics system," McCahill said. "Dell has a plant in Xiamen where all the suppliers have to be a bicycle ride away." In the meantime, resourceful Chinese shoppers are finding ways to skirt the higher prices. Although knockoffs are common, the so-called gray market is also thriving, particularly online. There sellers peddle discounted luxury handbags, Apple gadgets and other authentic brand-name consumer goods acquired abroad.

Shanghai, Consumption Central

drinks in a supermarket Shanghai is ground zero for consumer culture in China . By 2006, the average person in Shanghai owned two mobile phones, 1.7air-conditioners, 1.7 color television sets, more than one fridge and spent 14,761 yuan a year (around 1,455), some 70 percent more than the rest of the country. They use almost twice as much toilet paper as the average in developed nations and have a bigger carbon footprint than people in the UK. The city is consuming beyond the planet's means, and its appetite is growing by the day.[Source:

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, June 26, 2010, , edited from When A Billion Chinese Jump by Jonathan Watts Faber, 2010 ] Shanghai has been the beachhead for foreign companies hoping to sell stuff in China. Jonathan Watts wrote in The Guardian, While information firms and political lobbyists headed to Beijing and manufacturers flocked to Guangzhou, retail giants almost invariably chose Shanghai for their China headquarters and their first showrooms. From Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's and Starbucks to Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel, international brands made the city a giant shopping mall. [Ibid] The rest of the country has some way to go to catch up with Shanghai, which is what the government wants. This will require a great deal more energy and raw materials. To provide everyone with a Shanghai lifestyle, factories will need to churn out an extra 159 million refrigerators, 213 million televisions, 233 million computers, 166 million microwave ovens, 260 million air-conditioners and 187 million cars. [Ibid] Retail markets have become less diverse as they have grown. Paul French, a Shanghai-based marketing consultant, told The Guardian the problem is that the shopping malls designed to create the image of a good life do not reflect reality for most people: They are building more and more malls filled with luxury brands. Like the power stations in Soviet-era Russia, they are being built not because of demand but because of prestige. Every official in China wants one to show their city is on the international map. [Ibid] These emporiums are designed to generate desire, not meet needs, Watts wrote. Many are dismissed by locals as gui gouwu zhongxin (ghost malls) because they attract so few customers. Yet in Shanghai they are everywhere. Xujiahui intersection, for example, is ringed by six department stores. Among them is the Orient Shopping Mall, boasting Este Lauder cosmetics, Rolex watches, Cartier pens and Dior lipstick. Passing through the revolving door one weekday morning, I see not a single customer. Not even a window shopper. [Ibid]

Global Impact of Chinese Shoppers

The consumer market in China is expected to grow from $1.53 trillion in 2008 to $5.58 trillion in 2020. Jonathan Watts wrote in The Guardian: Until recently, China was living within the planet's means. If everyone in the world consumed what the average Mr or Mrs Wang did in 2007, we'd just about stay within the sustainable resources of our planet. Humanity would have a balanced ecological budget. But, understandably, Mr and Mrs Wang wanted to keep up with Mr and Mrs Jones on the other side of the Pacific. That was human nature. It was also bad news for the environment, because if we all ate, shopped and traveed like those average Americans, we'd need 4.5 Earths.[Source: Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, June 26, 2010, , edited from When A Billion Chinese Jump by Jonathan Watts Faber, 2010 ] In recent years, the planet's largest corporations have become dependent on the Wangs catching up with the Joneses. The US had shopped until its economy dropped. Sinking in debt, plagued by obesity and increasingly dependent on military might to protect its lifestyle, the world's superconsumer was groaning with indigestion. Europe was too decrepit and conservative to take up the slack, so global manufacturers, retailers and restaurant chains were desperate to stimulate the Chinese appetite.

To feed its growing livestock, China imports huge quantities of soya, much of it from Brazil, which has resulted in accelerated clearance of Amazonian forest and Cerrado savanna. Like many other wealthy cities, the high-protein, high-octane, jet-set lifestyle is being paid for elsewhere. Earthwatch Institute estimates that if China's 1.3 billion people were to consume at the same rate as Americans, global production of steel, paper and cars would have to double, oil output would need to rise by 20m barrels a day and miners would have to dig an extra 5bn tons of coal. If it followed the US appetite, China would chew its way through 80 percent of current meat production and two-thirds of the global grain harvest. China is telescoping history, says Lester Brown, president of Earthwatch. It forces us to focus on what happens when huge numbers of low-income people rise rapidly in affluence. Chinese consumption shows the need to reconstruct the world economy. Instead of relying on an ever greater consumption of resources to generate growth, Brown says mankind needs to move to a fairer, more sustainable model. Yet the opposite seems to be happening. Global corporations and the communist government are trying to make China the greatest shopper of them all. In Shanghai, that goal is already being realized. By one estimate, the average carbon dioxide emissions of its residents have already overtaken those in Tokyo, New York and London. If there is a glimmer of environmental hope, it is that even in Shanghai people have not yet fully embraced western levels of throwaway consumption. Many still prefer flasks of hot tea to cans of Coke, and in the supermarkets the average basket of goods is smaller than in the west and profit margins are lower. This thrift is not inspired by environmental concerns, but by a traditional desire to live within one's means. [Ibid]

Wal-Mart's live food section

Tipping in China
Tipping has traditionally been frowned upon. Beijing University psychology professor Wang Dengfeng told the Los Angeles Times that the whole process of tipping is considered dehumanizing. If you ask for extra money its kind of offensive, he explained, because the other person will think you are not a good person. You are doing the extra work just for the extra money. Its not polite.

Decades of Communist rule have indoctrinated Chinese with the belief that everyone is equal and the idea of paying little extra for good service smacks of corruption. Its almost like you are going back to feudal times, a Chinese culture consultant told the Los Angeles Times. Ironically when Chinese travel abroad they often tip. In the mid 2000s, an effort was made to get Chinese to tip more. The practice was encouraged in the tourism industry so that guides could make money from tips rather than commissions earned by steering their customers onto souvenir shops. In the service industry tipping it being suggested as a way to get service staff to work harder and be more attentive to the needs of their customers.

Services and a Lack of Service in China

Yales Stephen Roach wrote in the Christian Science Monitor, Services account for just 43 percent of Chinese GDP well below global norms. Services are an important piece of Chinas pro-consumption strategy especially large-scale transactions-based industries such as distribution (wholesale and retail), domestic transportation, supply-chain logistics, and hospitality and leisure. Over the next five years, the services share of Chinese GDP could rise above the currently targeted four-percentage-point increase. This is a labor-intensive, resource-efficient, environmentally-friendly growth recipe precisely what China needs in the next phase of its development. As was the case in the Soviet bloc, bad service was a fixture of life in Communist China. Friendship stores, for example, were famous for their sullen, slow sales history. In hotels, the staff often seemed to were more intent in spying on you than helping you. Some foreign complain that things have improved much. Customers at banks at train stations routinely have to wait in long longs and when the reach the window they are told to wait in another line. Sometimes things are not much better in restaurants. A Taiwanese-born American told the Los Angeles Times, Ive always had bad experiences with restaurant servers in Beijing. They just get basic salaries and so they dont do much. Unless you complain. Workers are usually reluctant to perform tasks assigned to someone else out of fear of being blamed for making a mistake. This causes problems for tourists, because usually there is one person assigned to one task and one task only: one person who changes money, another who rents bikes, one person who takes care of maintenance and another who checks people into the hotel. If the person assigned to the task isn't there no else will do the task, which means that tourists have to wait around for the person to come back. Things are improving. Nowespecially with the Beijing Olympics coming up and China generally trying to improve is reputation among foreignersthere is more emphasis on service and pleasing the customer. Courses in etiquette and service teach shopkeepers to use polite language, wear socks to work, respond in a timely fashion and not cheat and follow customers around. Part of the training involves driving home the point treating customers well and developing long term relations are ultimately good for business. In February 2007, regulations went into effect that banned shopkeepers in Beijing from getting angry at customers, acting impatiently, making sarcastic comments, grabbing customers or offering vague explanations. The rules were part of the effort to improve

manners and address complaints about poor service in Beijing in preparations for the Olympics in 2008. There was no mention of the penalties for breaking the rules. Shopowners complain that its the customers are the ones that need the politeness lessons. They complain about customers damaging goods in their stores and not paying compensation and agreeing to a price after a lengthy bargaining process and then walking away without buying anything.


Citizens poster from the 1920s Chinese have described themselves as harsh, tenacious, unpredictable, materialistic, greedy, secretive, direct, suspicious, stoic, warm, xenophobic, respectful and insensitive. They can be very hard working but also have a reputation for corruption and arbitrariness. Among the traits that Chinese consumers said they admired most in a marketing study were diligence, self-confidence, respect, talent, heroism and lightheartedness. Cong Zhong, a professor and psychoanalyst at Beijing Medical College, told the Times of London, deep down, Chinese people have the same repressed feelings, desires and problems" as Westerners. The five traditional blessings are prosperity, happiness, passion, health and good luck. Patience and diligence and family are also highly valued. Traditional Chinese values include love and respect for the family, integrity, loyalty, honesty, humility, industriousness, respect for elders, patience, persistence, hard work, friendship, commitment to education, belief in order and stability, emphasis on obligations to the community rather just individual rights and preference for consultation rather then open confrontation. These values are generally shared by other Asians and are drilled into children from nursery school onward. Geoffrey Blowers, a professor of psychology at Hong Kong University, told the Times of London, In Judaeo-Christian culture, with its belief in a personal connection with God, there is a tradition of improvement through self-examination. In the Chinese cosmological system the emphasis is on continuity, and the need to fit in with ones surroundings. He adds that in Western guilt culture people are more used to bearing their souls while in Asian shame culture people are taught to be more discreet lest they bring shame to their families. Some Non-Chinese find the Chinese crude and pushy yet humble and shy. The writer Paul Theroux wrote the Chinese he encountered "were very tidy in the way they dress and packed

their things, but they were energetic litterers and they were hellish in toilets...They spat, they shouted, they stared and undressed in public; and yet with all this they seldom quarreled. They were extremely shytimid evenmodest and naive." ;

Problems of Defining Chinese Character

There does seems to be some character differences between Asians and Westerners but defining these differences and interpreting their significance is difficult and even dangerous. It has been said for example that Asian societies place more emphasis on intuitive insight and tradition than Western societies which are based more on logic. But defining exactly what tradition, intuitive insight and logic are is difficult, especially if you factor in cultural relativity, It is hard to pin down what is Chinese, National Public radio correspondent Rob Giffrid wrote, For every fact that is true...the opposite is almost always true as well, somewhere in the country. The view that Westerners have of China and Chinese is often based on stereotypes and journalistic myths. Only recently has the West begun to understand how complex and diverse China and the Chinese are. Advertisers have difficulty developing national marketing schemes in China because income levels, education levels and other demographics vary so much from place to place. One advertising researcher, for example, found though focus group studies that young people in Guangzhou are much more pragmatic cool, wanting their cell phones to have MP3 players, than their counterparts in Shanghai who wanted an Ipod and a separate, trendy, cell phone. [Source: International Herald Tribune]

Religion, Confucianism and Character

Filial piety Confucianism puts a strong emphasis and following teachers, superiors, family members and elders. Liu Heung-shin, the editor of a Hong Kong magazine, wrote Chinese identity is "connected to Confucianism, built around families and connections. It's something Chinese people can feel, even if the don't describe it in words."

Love and respect are principals that were practiced more in the context of the family than in society and humanity as a whole and equality was not necessarily the goal of a just society. These ideas help explain why nepotism is so rampant, why Chinese are so horrified by the way Westerners treat the elderly and why the Chinese are more likely to mind their own business if they witness a great injustice being inflicted on a stranger. Confucian values were displaced somewhat by Communism and Maoism. Since Mao's death and the launching of the Deng economic reforms, Confucianism has made a comeback only to be displaced somewhat by materialism, money and superficial success. Confucian and Taoism basically contradict and are in conflict with one another. Confucianism, emphasizes achievement and propriety while Taoism stresses unseen strengths in being humble and in some cases, being perceived as average. Asians often do not seem as self absorbed as Americans. One explanation may be religion. Buddhists talk about diminishing the self and looking to other for guidance and information

Basic Tenets of Confucianism

Confucianism stresses the importance of precedent and universal truths articulated by sages of the past and emphasizes self improvement. The two major doctrines of Confucianism are: 1) zhong, based on the Chinese character that combines "heart and "middle," meaning fidelity to oneself and humanity within; and 2) shu, meaning cherish the heart as if it were ones owner. Confucianism is a social code based on morality rather than laws. Confucius said: If you govern by regulations and keep them in order by punishment, the people will avoid trouble but have no sense of shame. If you govern them by moral influence, and keep them in order by a code of manners, they will have a sense of shame and will come to you of their own accord. Confucius believed people should look to the past to gain insight into how to behave and said virtuous men should follow the examples of the great ancestors. The Analects outlined the four basic concepts of Confucian thought: 1) benevolence, love of humanity and the virtues of the superior man (jen); 2) moderation in all things (chung yung) and harmony with nature (T'ien): 3) filial propriety, duty and the rules that define good social relationships (li); 4) the "rectification of names" or recognizing the nature of things by giving them their right names (cheng ming). Unlike Taoism, which emphasizes the natural way, Confucianism emphasizes the social way. It assumes that the natural worldi.e the seasons, day and night and the agriculture cyclefollow the same code as mankind; that all events on earth are the due to the decree of heaven; and the natural course of events, whether they be related to society or nature, is a reflection of the Way of Heaven.

Five Virtues

Confucianism recognizes five cardinal virtues: 1) benevolence in terms of sympathy for others (jen); 2) duty reflected in the shame felt after doing something wrong (yi); 3) manners, propriety and feelings of deference (li); 4) wisdom, in terms of discerning right and wrong (chih;) and 5) loyalty and good faith (hsin). Benevolence is regarded as the most important of the virtues, and some effort is made to define it, with the Golden Rule being only one attempt. Manners are also given a lot of attention and means both the outward actions and inner feelings of respect. The concept embraces not only etiquette but also customs, rituals and conventions of all kinds. Early Confucian focused a lot of attention on the relationship between morality and human nature and the whole idea that they are dovetailing and conflicting forces. Almost every side and view was taken on the subject. One prevailing idea was that human nature was a mixture of good and bad and the amounts of each could vary a great deal from individual to individual. Another important concept was that human nature was something that was evil Yet another view was that human nature was something that was in tune with the forces of heaven. In the end the view expressed in The Book of RitesThat in man which is decreed by heaven is what is meant by nature; to follow his nature is meant by the Way; cultivation of the Way is what is meant by educationbecame the prevailing view. One Chinese chatline user said, China is an unusual society. Many Chinese like to shift responsibility and duty to others. If that person succeeds, he is revered. If the opposite happens, he will be condemned.

Confucian Beliefs About Social Relationships

Confucius Confucius was not interested in individual salvation or individual rights. What he cared about most was the collective well being of society. He promoted virtues such as courtesy, selflessness, obedience, respect, diligence, communal obligation, working for a common good, social harmony, and empathy. The code of behavior he described was based on a system of harmonious, subordinate relationships based on the notions of filial piety, a wellordered family, a well-ordered-state and a well-ordered world. Confucians stress that a persons worth is determined by public actions. The concept of li defines a set of social relationships and clearly described how people are supposed to behave towards one another. Fealty in Confucian terms takes five forms: 1) subject to ruler, 2) son to father, 3) younger brother to older brother, 4) wife to husband (woman to man), and 5) younger person to older person. Under the concept the li, the dominate person receives respect and obedience from the subordinate person but is by no means a dictator. He is supposed to reciprocate with love, goodwill, support and affection towards the subordinate person. The Confucian code of subordinate relationships also extended to professions, with scholars at the top; peasant farmers in the middle; and artisans and merchants at the bottom. Confucian scholars grew their fingernails long to show they didn't do physical labor. Under Confucian leadership, crimes were often dealt with by ostracism and humiliation rather than physical punishment. Jackie Chan raised some eyebrows in April 2009 when he said that Chinese need to be controlled. Before an audience of business leaders on Hainan Island in China he said, Im not sure if its good to have freedom or not. Im really confused now. If youve got too much freedom youre like the way Hong Kong is now. Its very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic...Im gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If were not being controlled, well just do what we want.

Confucianism and Families

Under Confucianism, the oldest male and the father are regarded as the unchallengeable authorities. They set rules, and the "duty and virtue" of everyone else is to follow them. The oldest male and father, in turn, are supposed to reciprocate this reverence by supporting and looking out for the best interest of the people subordinate to them. Love and respect are principals that are practiced in the context of the family. Confucians do not ascribe to the idea of loving all people equally. Confucius promoted the concept that it was important to worship one's parents while they are still living and old people should be venerated because even though they are weak physically they at the peak of their knowledge and wisdom. This sentiment is best expressed during the "elders first" rite, the central ritual of the Chinese New Year, in which family members kneel and bow on the ground to everyone older than them: first grandparents, then parents, siblings and relatives, even elderly neighbors. In the old days a son was expected to honor his deceased father by occupying a hut by his grave and abstaining from meat, wine and sex for 25 months. Filial piety is regarded as the most important Confucian duty. Confucian filial piety encourages the younger generation to follow the teachings of elders and for elders to teach the young their duties and manners. Both children and adults are taught to honor their parents no matter what age they are and obey their commands and not do anything that would bring suffering or pain to them. Sons have traditionally been taught to give whatever money they make to their parents. To do otherwise would incur a loss of face. This unquestioning acquiescence was expected to be maintained regardless of how their parents respond. "In early times," one Chinese man told National Geographic, "even if your parents were not nice to you, you were still responsible to them in their old age." Sometimes family comes before conventional morality. In The Analects, after being told about a man who bore witness against his father for stealing sheep, Confucius said: The honest men of my country are different from this. The father covers up for his son, the son covers up for his father...and there is honesty in that too. One Chinese woman who worked in marketing told The New Yorker, In both the U.S. and China, people say that the family is the No. 1 priority. But in the U.S. they really mean it. In China, everything is about career and getting ahead.

Another filiel piety scene

Asian Character
It can be argued that Asians are more honest than Americans. In many instances Asians are more likely to admit a crime if they have committed it. The adversarial Western model of jurisprudence is alien to some Asians. It can also be argued that Asians are less likely to express anger or strong emotions in public. Buddhism encourages its practitioners to keep their emotions and passions in check. Controlling and not expressing emotions is viewed as a sign of strength. The same discipline is applied to social situations. An executive with the Chinese computer firm Lenovo told U.S. News and World Report, Westerners tend to speak first, then listen, and easterners tend to listen, then speak. Asian seem to be wore willing to share their personal space with others. There is little privacy in Asia. People live close together and are used to having people around them all the time. Wanting to be by oneself is considered kind of strange. Psychologists such as Richard Nisbett, at the University of Michigan, have measured ways in which Westerners tend to see the world in terms of discrete objects, while people from mainland China and Taiwan tend to focus on relationships. A typical experiment: when Americans are asked to group together two out of three thingsa cow, a chicken, and a patch of grassthey are more likely to say that the cow and the chicken belong together, because they are both animals, but Asians tend to put the cow and the grass together, because the cow eats the grass. In practice, Saporta said, a Chinese patient might express a desire more indirectly than a Westerner, out of a concern for how that desire might disrupt relationships: "In psychoanalysis, you would see this person as conflicted about what they want, and you'd try to get them to be freer and more direct." He added, "It's not clear to me how important these differences are for therapy. Some people think they're important and some don't. But I think they should at least be considered." [Source: Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, January 10, 2011]

Asian Values
In the late 1990s it was fashionable to explain Asias economic success and prosperity in terms of Asian values, a collection of attributes such as a belief in hard work, thriftiness, propensity to save, filial piety, national pride, respect for order and authority, coherence of a society, and a commitments to common ideals, goals and values that place the common good ahead of the individual. Questioning authority and seniors was regarded as disrespectful, unConfucian and un-Asian. Some Asian value advocates went further and argued that Asian values created a better society. High rates of crime, unemployment, divorce, drug use and welfare dependency in Western societies were explained in part, the advocates said, by the fact that Westerners were lazy, selfish and greedy; and they sent their elderly to nursing homes and married several times. Asians by contrast did not have so many problems because they cared for their grandparents, shunned divorce, worked hard, saved their money and were devoted to their families. Some Asian values advocates argued that the group-oriented, Confucian "Asian Way, " with its emphasis on respect for authority was better than the democratic, Judeo-Christian, individualistic "American Way." They suggested that imposing Western notions of individualism on Asia corrupted Asian society and Asian-style authoritarianism was the best way to develop economic growth. Many of the pro-Asian-value pronouncements came out in the mid 1990s and were made with a degree of haughtiness. All one had to do was look around Asia, the advocates said, and see all the economic success to realize that the Asian model was better. One proponent of Asian values said, ''We're doing pretty well for ourselves, and we don't need America to play father knows best anymore." Xu Jilin a noted scholar of Chinese intellectual history who teaches at East China Normal University in Shanghaiin his paper Universal Civilization, or Chinese Values? On the Past Ten Years of the Trend of Chinese Historicism (2010) Xu draws an analogy between the historicism of German intellectuals in the late 19th century and the current intellectual trend in China arguing for a Chinese value system that is fundamentally different to that in the West. At the end of a speech, Xu gave a dire warning about the dangers of this trend of thinking which ascribes a distinct value system to a people or culture arising from their own specific history. In the conclusion of the paper, he simply writes: "Universal civilization or Chinese values? Maybe this is a false dichotomy. The correct answer is: embrace universal civilization and rebuild Chinese values". [Source: Andrew Field]

Communism and Character in China

Communism puts a strong emphasis on following authority without questioning it and, initially in China anyway, created a society in which people were equal by poor. Years of totalitarianism have resulted in a fear of saying what one truly believes. One dissident writer told the New York Times, "The frightening thing about China is that almost every one says one thing in private and the opposite in public, because of the psychological damage, it corrupts society. If offends human dignity." One villager told the reporter Richard Critchfield, "What I hate most is lying. And the Communists were always lying." Value-imprinting--a sort of moral brainwashing--is something that has existed since the time of Confucius and remains very much alive under the Communist Party. Going hand and hand with this, today anyway, is the practice of paying lip service to these values and being guided by a secretive, often more greedy, agenda. Communism took Confucian paternalism to another level. A character in a Ha Jun novel says,I spit at China, because it treats its citizens like gullible children and always prevents them form growing up into real individuals. It demands nothing but obedience. See Human Rights Years of living under Communism have made older people conservative. Young people are more open and willing to express their ideas. See Society

Village Life and Character in China

Villagers all over the worldwhether they live in Africa, Poland, Guatemala, or China often live remarkably similar lifestyles. Often the main thing that separates them is their religious beliefs and aspects of their life determined by the climate and landscape they live in. Speculating on the illiterate village mind, journalist Alan Berlow wrote: "stories, intrigue, lies, gossip, speculation, gathered like rice in a basket, are tossed up in the air, sending husks to the wind, leaving behind kernels of truth. Truth and half truths, anyway." It is a "missing link, a smoking gun, the connective tissue of random events, the effort to explain things that resist explanation. Villagers help one another in various ways. They help each other harvest their crops and build their homes. If someone has a serious health problem often everyone pitches in at least some money to help pay the medical bills. They also lend a hand taking care of widows and orphans, fighting fires and helping fix farm equipment. Village life is often strictly codified. Since everyone knows and gossips about each other, morals tend to be similar. People who stand out or assert themselves as individuals are often regarded with suspicion and hostility by other villagers. People that are different are made fun. Villagers are often very resourceful and very patient and make the most of available opportunities because they have little choice but to be resourceful and patient and seize the opportunities they may have. When bad things happen they often accept them as manifestations of God's will or the doings of some evil or naughty spirit.

Xenophobia and Nationalism in China

Chinese actor playing a Westerner The Chinese are often described as xenophobic and nationalistic. While they can be very sensitive and defensive about matters concerning China and Chinese customs, they are often not shy about insulting non-Chinese. One Chinese proverb states: "We can fool any foreigner." Frank Hawke, a resident of Beijing since the 1970s, told the New York Times, A psychological theme that runs throughout China is that the Chinese feel they have this great culture, second to none, and yet here they are, a third world developing country. Since 1949, their major goal has been to catch up and surpass the rest of the world in all aspects: culture, national defense, technology, sports. When they feel theyve made a huge leap forward, theres an incredible national pride. A person of Chinese descents who has lived outside China his entire life, but speaks no Chinese, is not labeled a foreigner. After Hong Kong becomes part of China, Chinese citizenship was only offered to people of "Chinese descent." People of Indian descent and mixed racial heritage were denied a Chinese passport because they were not "pure blood" Chinese.

Hurts the Feelings of the Chinese People

Victor Mair wrote in the Language Log, Spokespersons for the government of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) often complain that the words or actions of individuals or groups from other nations "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people". This is true even when those individuals or groups are speaking or acting on behalf of some segment of the Chinese population (e.g., political prisoners, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Falun Gong adherents, people whose houses have been forcibly demolished, farmers, and so forth). A typical cause for invoking the "hurt(s) the feelings of the Chinese people" circumlocution would be for the head of state of a country to meet with the Dalai Lama or Rebiya Kadeer. A good example is Mexican President Calderon's recent meeting with the Dalai Lama, which the PRC government denounced in extremely harsh terms. The vitriolic rebuke led one commentator to refer to the PRC denunciation of the Mexican President as a kind of "bullying". [Source: Victor Mair, Language Log September 12, 2011]

I should note that the "hurt feelings" meme usually occurs in tandem with other standard kvetching: grossly interfered with Chinas internal affairs, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, and harmed Chinese-XYZ relations. Clearly, this is formulaic language. What is more, because it is used with such frequency in China's dealing with other nations, it quickly begins to lose force and meaning, but amounts to mere blather and cannot be taken all that seriously. Still, its sheer ubiquity makes one wonder: why this obsession with damaged sensitivity? Finding this expression "hurts the feelings of the Chinese people" so omnipresent in statements emanating from the PRC government, I wondered how it compares with the usage of analogous statements by representatives of other nations. Here are ghits (Google hits) for some comparable phrases involving other nations: 1) hurts the feelings of the Chinese people 17,000; 2) hurts the feelings of the Japanese people 178; 3) hurts the feelings of the American people 5; 4) hurts the feelings of the German people 2; 5) hurts the feelings of the Jewish people 2; 6) hurts the feelings of the Indian people 0; 7) hurts the feelings of the Russian people 0; 8) hurts the feelings of the Italian people 0; 9) hurts the feelings of the British people 0; 10) hurts the feelings of the Swedish people 0; 11) hurts the feelings of the French people 0; 12) hurts the feelings of the Spanish people 0; 13) hurts the feelings of the Turkish people 0; 14) hurts the feelings of the Greek people 0; 15) hurts the feelings of the Israeli people 0; 16) hurts the feelings of the Vietnamese people 0; 17) hurts the feelings of the Thai people 0; 18) hurts the feelings of the Egyptian people 0: 19) hurts the feelings of the Tibetan people 0; 18) hurts the feelings of the Uighur people 0; 19) hurts the feelings of the Uyghur people 0; 20) hurts the feelings of the Mongolian people 0 Of course, "hurts the feelings of the XYZ people" is only one possible variation on this theme, and the same idea might also be expressed through other phraseology: "feelings were hurt," "feelings have been hurt," and the like. But "hurts the feelings of the Chinese people" seems to be the canonical form according to the word wizards of the PRC Foreign Ministry, so it probably gives a fair indication of the sort of diplomatic sentiment about the presumed collective PRC psyche effusing from Beijing.

Just before making this post, I came upon a 2008 article by Tom Lasseter entitled "The hurt feelings of the Chinese" so I am by no means the first person to notice this peculiar phenomenon. Then I started to look around a bit more, and I discovered a number of very interesting analyses of the wounded Chinese soul, including this excellent essay by Joel Martinsen: "Mapping the hurt feelings of the Chinese people in Danwei, also from 2008. Even the PRC's own Global Times weighed in on China's hurt feelings in 2009. If you put hurt feelings China (no quotes) in your search engine, you will find all the countless thousands of people who have supposedly harmed the corporate Chinese spirit. Some, such as Bob Dylan, are warned NOT to hurt Chinese feelings before they have actually done so: "Bob Dylan Ordered to Not Hurt Feelings in China "! What do we make of this hugely disproportionate usage of the "hurt feelings" meme by PRC spokespersons vis--vis its (non)usage by the spokespersons of other nations? Do Chinese have far more feelings than other people? Are Chinese more pathetic? More bathetic? More pitiable? Having studied Chinese language, literature, and culture for most of my life, I find it hard to comprehend why the PRC spokespersons should concentrate so much on the perceived wounded feelings of their countrymen. Surely it is self-demeaning for a large nation with such a long and illustrious past to focus so heavily on its injured emotions, yet there must be some reason(s) why they do so ad nauseam.

Individualism, Hedonism and Western Values in China

Individualism is a trait that is looked upon with scorn by Communist government. Showing off and promoting oneself is not widely accepted. Too much pride has traditionally been thought to attract misfortune. A Chinese skateboarder told the Los Angeles Times, The Chinese are still traditional, and many young kids have no ambition to show themselves off. On woman who spent 28 years in a labor camp breaking rocks told travel writer Colin Thubron, "In China, you must conform but I can't. That's why they think I'm mad. I challenge everything, you see, and that's the madness here. I ask Why? Why?...Why is not a Chinese question." In 2002, John Pomfret of the Washington Post wrote: Communism as an ideology is dead. It has been replaced by hedonism...Nationalism may appeal to a few hot-headed students but it cant compare to a night on the town with a hot hostess in a Karaoke bar...Chinas energy is focused on production and consumptionnot self-reflection. This country is all id and no superego. It citizens hunger for sex, food, money, goods and cheap thrills.

Some young Chinese while away the hours drinking potent moonshine, messing around with prostitutes and indulging themselves in pot-stewed pigs ears. Youths with school bags can often seen drinking beer at restaurants or smoking while they walk to and from school. According to one survey, 30 percent of Shanghai's middle school students drink and smoke. In another survey, most college students said their goal in life was to "to make money." Parents blame the current attitude on the negative influence of movies and advertising. The youth of China today are widely seen as sort of lost generation with nothing to believe in but money, the writer Paul Theroux wrote, "no dogma, no Mao, no gods, no emperor, no Taoism, no Buddhism...with democracy such a long shot that most students didn't bother to participate in demonstrations." A Chinese professor, who lectured his students about international relations after visiting America, was disappointed with his students who, when the lecture was over, asked him questions like what brand of cigarettes Americans smoked. See Culture, Media, American Television shows

Changing Codes of Behavior in China

Photographer Michael Yamashita wrote in National Geographic: Along with the changes that define new China comes a change in peoples outlook. Theres a new confidence, a sense of destiny, and such an incredible thirst for knowledge. Peter Hessler wrote in National Geographic, Few Chinese spend much time thinking about the future. Decades of political turmoil taught citizens that nothing lasts forever, which inspires the fearlessness of the entrepreneurs but also makes them shortsighted. Peter Hessler wrote in The New Yorker,The place changes too fast; nobody in China has the luxury of being confident in his knowledge. Who shows a peasant how to find a factory job? How does a former Maoist learn to start a business?...Everything is figured out n the fly; the people are masters of improvisation. Many people feel the Chinese have lost their moral compass and have become too consumed with money and materialism (See Money, Business Customs). Some see the rebirth of Confucianism and a look to Confucianism to answer questions about the meaning of life as a response to this. The younger generation has less reverence towards traditional Chinese values than the older generation and the behavior and values of many young Chinese isn't all that different from young Westerners. Some have argued that traditional Confucian values, which prized things like harmony, humility, honor, maintaining face, and respect for older people, are quickly being replaced by Western values which emphasize things like individualism, youth and success. Young Chinese, who were once polite and respectful to their elders, now criticize them and accuse them of being rigid and addicted to boring Beijing opera. Older people accuse young Chinese of being materialistic and undisciplined and too interested in motorcycles and casual sex. Many Chinese crave anything new. They are fond of gadgets are very much engaged in the world of cell phones, text messaging, gaming and the Internet. The only things that limits them is money.

China's growing economy over the past few decades has led to a high degree of mobility among cities and regions, creating what the Beijing-based lawyer Chen Wei described to China Daily as a "strangers' society".

Asking Personal Questions

Peter Krasnopolsky wrote in the Global Times, Living in Beijing I have managed to develop a relatively high level of tolerance to inquiries which many Westerners perceive as personal. I am now fine with strangers asking me about my salary, my age, my weight, my medical history, my girlfriend's age, when I plan to get married and a number of other nonsense questions, answers for which are usually reserved for the closest friends back home. Yet, the tactlessness of strangers gets to me the most when I am in the company of my Chinese girlfriend's 4-year old daughter from her first marriage. The curiosity must be driving these strangers mad, so that they go through extra effort to approach the four-year-old in a supermarket, a restaurant, or a park and ask her "Why don't you look like your Daddy?" Curiosity killed the cat. That's how I feel towards these curious characters. [Source: Peter Krasnopolsky, Global Times, April 12, 2011] I shouldn't really blame Beijingers for their inquisitiveness. They don't live in a multiethnic society, such as the one many of us Westerners come from. Mixed couples are not a rule in New Jersey either, but we don't usually stare at them. Moreover, never would we question anybody in a family in which the kid looks explicitly different than one or both of the parents. In the West, we are quite familiar with concepts like divorce, second marriage, adoption and civil marriage. Never would we dare to ask a complete stranger, and especially his child, why one doesn't look like the other. After the first time I dropped 4-year-old Fenfen off at the kindergarten bus, the teacher asked her "Is that foreigner your father?" Not wanting to be bothered and probably still confused about the whole "father" concept, she just replied "yes." Similarly, whenever I am asked "Is that your daughter?" by my nosy neighbors, I reply affirmatively (while being equally confused about the whole notion of "fatherhood"). [Ibid] I wish this interest in my family stopped there, but it doesn't. Fortunately, some strangers are more tactful than others and would say, "She probably looks more like her mom, doesn't she?" - to which I just nod. Some ask me whether she understands Chinese; to them I suggest they should ask her. Then there are the naive ones, who would whisper to each other: "See, I told you mixed babies are beautiful!" To these I proudly smile in response, actually believing for a moment in my non-existent achievement. Still, the polite and cautious strangers are less frequent than the annoying and intrusive truth seekers. [Ibid] The other day me and Fenfen were taking a walk when some auntie ran ahead of us, stared profusely into the kid's face and loudly announced for the whole street to hear: "This is a Chinese girl!" Not wanting to disappoint her, I said: "You are very clever." Unfortunately, she took it as an invitation for a conversation and immediately asked the little girl: "Why don't you look like your father?" I was seeing red, but instead I took a deep breath and in my broken Chinese responded: "You look like a clever person, but in fact you are not." By the expression on her face I could see she understood what I meant. [Ibid]


losing face The Chinese are very conscious of face. Face is essentially respect in a community and is a crucial underpinning of society. Loss of that respect threatens the relations of individuals with almost everyone in his or her world and is hard to get back once lost, and thus must be avoided at all costs. Face is called "mianzi" in mandarin, which can also be translated to mean dignity, prestige and reputation. It has been said that "face is more important than truth or justice." Losing face if often people's worst fear. Chinese go out of their way to be polite and accommodating, to maintain dignity in a variety of situations and avoid disputes, conflicts and embarrassment in their pursuit to avoid losing face. The government often uses social pressure in the form of face-losing criticism to keep people in line on issues such as having extra children or complaining about the government (the threat of imprisonment is also used). Maintaining face and avoiding losing face are important concepts in the West. But as Scott Seligman, author of Chinese Business Etiquette, Manners and Culture in the Peoples Republic of China told the New York Times, The Chinese raise face to a high art. Its a fragile commodity in China that can easily be lost....The trigger doesnt have to be extreme. You can contradict somebody in front of someone who is lower ranking and cause that person to lose face. Even the simple act of saying no to somebody can make that person lose face. Chinese also value loyalty and stress the importance of keeping one's word. Discretion is greatly valued. It is tied with humility and not causing others to lose face.

Websites and Resources

Good Websites and Sources: Chinese Personality book on PDF file Book: Understanding the Chinese Personality ; Chinese Personality and Work ; Negotiating and Building Relationships with Chinese by Sidney Rittenberg ; Understanding Chinese Business Culture ; Status of Chinese People Blog ; Chinese Human Genome Diversity Project ; Difference Between Chinese and Japanese, a Blog Report ; Opinions on Asian

Fetish ; Wikipedia article on the Mongoloid Race Wikipedia ; Chinese Personality Constructs ; Old Chinese jokes China Vista ; Essay on Humor, China and Japan . Book: One of the most enlightening books about China is Chinese Lives by Sang Ye and Zhang Xinxin, a series of interviews with ordinary Chinese talking very candidly about what matter to them. Links in this Website: CHINESE PEOPLE ; CHINESE PEOPLE AND DNA ;CHINESE PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER ; CHINESE PERSONALITY TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS ; REGIONAL DIFFERENCES IN CHINA ; CHINESE CUSTOMS ; BAD MANNERS IN CHINA ; CHINESE SOCIETY, CONFUCIANISM, CROWDS AND VILLAGES ; CHINESE SOCIETY AND COMMUNISM ; CLASSIC CHINESE LITERATURE ; MODERN CHINESE LITERATURE ; MODERN CHINESE WRITERS ; RELIGION, FOLK BELIEFS AND DEATH ( Main Page, Click Religion) JAPANESE PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER ; JAPANESE SOCIETY ;

Liu Bolin, Chinas Invisible Man artist

Shyness, Modesty and Embarrassment in China

Chinese often appear shy and self conscious to Westerners, especially when they are around foreigners or are in situations which they are not used to. Chinese don't like to be separated from crowd, stared at or asked too many personal questions (even though they often stare at and ask personal questions of Westerners). Chinese often smile or giggle when a sensitive subject is broached or they feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. When young Chinese are asked if they have a girlfriend they usually laugh and look away. Chinese often grin when something bad has happened. Laughing loudly is often a sign of uneasiness. The writer Peter Hessler described the the Chinese grin of embarrassment as the kind of expression that make your pulse quicken. Many Chinese will give a broad smile when they make eye contact with a stranger and then frown when they look away. Chinese generally dont express their feelings very well. The American-born Taiwan-raised film director Bertha Bay-Sa Pan told the New York Times, The Chinese are not very expressive. We dont tend to say, I love you, even to our families, and were not physically affectionate. At the same time some Chinese can be very self-deprecating. It is not unusual for a man to introduce himself as Hu, a silly old pig. Successful Chinese are often very modest. Most of Chinas super rich are publicity-shy. They rarely grant interviews and little is known about them. When they do talk they tend to talk more about their $2 haircuts than lavish possessions. Perhaps they are reminded of the old Chinese proverb: Fame portends trouble for men, just as fattening does a pig.

Formality, Punctuality and Apologizing in China

Chinese tend to be very formal and have an us versus them attitude towards outsiders. Their formality persists until one is allowed on the inside of their group, which is something that usually takes place over time and requires following established protocol and recognizing hierarchies and showing proper respect to achieve. Apologizing is important in China. The methods, manners and the ways it is carried out is affected by the rank and identity of the person doing the apologizing and the person being apologized to and is often conducted in a way that is difficult for Westerners to unravel and comprehend.

Chinese find it difficult and humiliating to apologize to someone face to face. Sometimes they refuse to apologize even when they know they are wrong. Refusing to apologize causes great harm because of concerns about losing face. In some places in China, there are apologist-for-hire businesses that allow people to hire a stranger to say I'm sorry to someone they wish to apologize to. The enterprises began in 2000 in Nanjing and have spread to Beijing and other cities. The Chinese have a strong sense of punctuality. See Social Customs.

Indirectness, Uncertainty and Lying

Chinese can also be very indirect, sometimes painfully so, especially when talking about something that bothers them or may cause them to look bad. Chinese, for example, consider it rude to ask for something directly and tend to avoid using questions that have a yes or no answer to avoid putting someone in the position where they might have to give an answer they don't want to give or hurt someone's feelings. Even inquiring about directions can be perceived as impolite because the person who is asked directions may not know where the place is and this could cause them to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. The Chinese do a great deal of communicating thorough symbolic expression, hints and allusions, expecting listeners and readers to grasp the meaning by reading between the lines. The Chinese like to say, He who says the least says the most. One Chinese man told the Los Angeles Times, "Chinese thinking is different from Western thinking. Westerners try to get at things very clearly, asking what, why and how much. Chinese are more interested in dealing with things using metaphors or intuitive comparisons." Chinese have a high tolerance for uncertainty, Many feel comfortable and even thrive in it. A book editor told the Los Angeles Times. After a while it becomes quite normal.. One Chinese man who returned to China after many years in the United States, told the Washington Post, People think in a more complicated way. Im more straightforward now, but theyre all zigzagging. A prominent architect said, We could do much better if we could think more. But you dont have so much time for thinking. People in China lie all the time about this and that. Teenagers lie about their age to get jobs. Workers lie when they are negotiating so they can a better job.

Endurance, Diligence and Complaining in China

Many Chinese are very tough and have endured hard lives (See Labor, Cultural Revolution). The editor mentioned above told the Los Angeles Times, While life for ordinary people is hard it also makes them strong and determined to survive. It also makes them exhausted. In Riding the Iron Rooster, Theroux wrote: "The cycle of frenzy and fatigue...seemed a Chinese way of living, working very hard, with tremendous concentration...and then stopping suddenly and going to sleep. Often in trains, two chattering and gesticulating people would crap out and begin to snore like bullfrogs." Asian societies have traditionally put an emphasis on maintaining a stiff upper lip, remaining strong and getting over problems rather than talking about them. Those that seek help are often stigmatized as weak or crazy. Psychology, psychiatry and counseling are rather new fields in China, where Confucian hierarchy has traditionally provided stability and people didnt talk much about their feelings. Chinese traditionally dont like to articulate their emotions, one psychologist told the Los Angeles Times. Chinese generally dont complain. Being pushy and emotional generally doesnt get you anywhere in China or Asia. In a 1997 survey by the Leo Burnett ad agency, 57 percent of Chinese agreed that people should not voice complaints (compared to 4 percent among Americans). Presumably this is at least partly the result of enduring so much hardship and possibly winding up in serious trouble if you do complain.. Self-sacrifice has long been esteemed as a righteous virtue in China. It ties in with collectivism.a trait valued by both Chinese and Communists, in which a person puts the group before he individual and nobly illustrated by a teacher putting the interests of his students before his own. The expression eating bitter describes putting up with hardships. One Chinese businessman told the Los Angeles Times, If you have any problems, you go to your parents. And if your parents cant help you, you bear them yourself. Enduring and eating bitter are virtues highlighted by the Communists in the Long March and living in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. In modern China, people seem willing to tolerate unfairness and bitterness as long as their standard of living improves.

Risk, Success, and Competition in China

Sanmao comic In the West risk takers are generally praised as people with ambition and drive while in China they are often viewed as overly emotional and careless. But that isn't to say Chinese don't take risks. They also invest heavily in the stock market and like to gamble. They also have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and powerful desire to succeed in business. If they fail at one thing they try something else. Chinese can be very competitive. They are very serious about games and will do anything to the win. One Uighur man told the New Yorker that Chinese never fight fair: Its not because of their culture, and its not because of their history. It comes from something inside their blood. It traditionally has been considered to be in bad taste in China to come across as too ambitious Many Chinese today however are obsessed with achieving success. Peter Hessler wrote on National Geographic that he found the following slogans inscribed next to a workers bed: Find success immediately, Face the future directly, and A person can become successful anywhere; I swear I wont return home until I am famous. The Chinese used to say friendship first, competition second but this view is changing as individual and self development become more developed. One Chinese chatline user said, China is an unusual society. Many Chinese like to shift responsibility and duty to others. If that person succeeds, he is revered. If the opposite happens, he will be condemned.

Speed and Change

Sanmao comic The pace of life is very quick. Chinese get off planes very fast. Elevators doors close almost before you have time to step out. Jonathan Franzen wrote in The New Yorker, one difference between Shanghai and New York was the alacrity with which the tiniest advantage was seized, the slightest hesitation exploited. Even more striking, though, was the self-blinkering angle at which the women pushing around me...held their head. It was the angle of looking at the ground exactly one step ahead. Speed is of essence, lest one gets left behind. The term Chinese time sometimes is used to describe the breakneck pace in whcih things are done and chnage in China. Mao Jian, a Shanghai-based writer wrote in the Washington Post, Sizzling in the wok is not stuffed buns, but hearts beating fast, faster and faster still. Got to speed up to make a buck. Tear down the old courtyard, fill in Suzhou Creek, race to register that domain name. One day late is forever late. Overnight a fairy sprinkles her pixie dust and that corner shed turns into an idyllic caf. But when you walk in, you see the owner reading a how-to-guide on opening a restaurant. Yet another new idea sprouting. Longevity is not the goal; speed is the style in China today. The developer Zhang Xin told The New Yorker, Chinese people dont like anything old they want everything new. If someone came from th moon, they would think is a newer country than America...Maybe that is what Mao wanted. Peter Hessler wrote in The New Yorker,The place changes too fast; nobody in China has the luxury of being confident in his knowledge. Who shows a peasant how to find a factory job? How does a former Maoist learn to start a business?...Everything is figured out n the fly; the people are masters of improvisation. Peter Hessler wrote in National Geographic, Few Chinese spend much time thinking about the future. Decades of political turmoil taught citizens that nothing lasts forever, which inspires the fearlessness of the entrepreneurs but also makes them shortsighted.

China Daily: Why the Rush?

Sanmao comic After the Wenzhou high-speed train crash in July 2011 that left 40 people dead Raymond Zhou wrote in the China Daily, For three decades, China has prided itself on its mantra of "faster and higher". Our GDP overshoots others by many times. Our high-rises pop up as if powered by testosterone. Our cityscape takes on new forms every few years. We had been stagnant for too long. We have to catch up. We don't want to be left behind in this era of globalization. [Source: Raymond Zhou, China Daily, August 4, 2011] In this madness for speed, we tend to forget that faster and higher do not necessarily equal better. Of course, living standards have risen for most of us, but if we stop to contemplate the costs, we will be shocked. Besides the environmental costs, there is the unaccounted-for price of mental health that is often left out of the equation. When we feel dizzy by the world that is whizzing by, when we get nostalgic about the simple life we used to lead in dilapidated homes (which was actually not that good, if one is objective), it could be signs that growth is a bit too fast for comfort. We Chinese always want to get ahead of the neighbor. If our neighbor's kid has a score of 98, we want ours to get 99 or 100. Does the higher score reflect his or her higher ability? We don't really care that much. On a national level, we want to accumulate the biggest tally of gold medals at the Olympics. Does that speak of the bigger picture of the country's fitness and sports? It's just an afterthought. We even want to have all those trivial and strange conquests that belong to the realm of Guinness World Records - not for fun, mind you, but for bragging rights. We are pursuing speed for the sake of speed, or for the sake of vanity. Other countries also try to "keep up with the Joneses", but nowhere is this as pronounced and concerted as here in China where it is an obsession - from the highest official to the lowest footman.

Sanmao comic In this relentless drive for growth and wealth, collisions are bound to occur. Of these, the one between development and a citizen's right to their homestead is probably the most acute, and the one between development and the ecology, the most sustained. The old order is crumbling, and the new is not yet ready. There is a vacuum that scamsters and demagogues are only too happy to fill. Rules and regulations are often tossed aside as an inconvenience. Look at this report from last year from the Railway Ministry's own newspaper: Some German specialists were hired to train the drivers of bullet trains. They said they needed three months to complete a training course. But they were told they had only 10 days to do the job. It became the ego trip of the rail department that they could turn out drivers in 10 days while in Germany they needed as long as three months, to the extent this report was spread far and wide as a token of its achievement. Who benefits from such haste? Surely, not the passengers. Realistically, it enhances only the self-glorification of a few people and departments.High speeds will take us to our destinations in a shorter time. But not every trip is intended to save time. We take a ramble in a park at a leisurely pace...We don't really need the frenzy of non-stop acceleration, especially when higher speed comes at higher risks to safety. Accidents are sadly unavoidable. But that is no excuse for those errors that occur as a consequence of lax management or under-tested facilities. It is time we paused to reflect on the purpose of the journey that is life.When we slow down, we'll notice that life is not always a car race. Our skyline may take on new shapes, but our conscience should remain in shape. Our trains may derail, but many of us tenaciously hold on to our old morality, our sense of good versus evil.

Pragmatism, Control and Logic

Sanmao Some have argued that the influence of Confucianism has caused Chinese to put more trust in traditions and authority over science and method, which Westerners emphasize. While Chinese can be very thoughtful, intuitive and logical, the argument goes, they tend to give more weight to relationships, obligations, loyalties and traditions when making a decision and approach problems in a holistic way rather than in sequential, linear or progressive way, which is the norm in the West. Even so, Chinese also have a reputation for being quite practical and pragmatic. Peter Hessler told National Geographic, People seem quite rationalvery, very pragmatic...This generation of Chinese you can pretty much predict how people will respond because they tend to act in their own best interest." Pearl S. Buck once said; The Chinese, while not a changeable people, are nevertheless people who are able to change when they see the time has come to change. They are basically practical people. They do not cling to a custom or tradition or even a religion just because it has always been the way. When they see that something no longer works, they change it. A survey on preferred ideology taken among students in the northern province of Hebei in 2006 found that 66 percent of them favored pragmatism over communism (favored by 13 percent) and hedonism (favored by 11 percent). Some have argued Chinese pragmatism is rooted in Confucianism. My wife teaches Chinese exchange students at a university in Japan. She said that many of her students who grew up in China in the one-child policy, Little Emperors erahave difficulty negotiating and coming to an agreement as a group. She attributes this to growing up without brothers and sisters. Jackie Chan raised some eyebrows in April 2009 when he said that Chinese need to be controlled. Before an audience of business leaders on Hainan Island in China he said, Im not sure if its good to have freedom or not. Im really confused now. If youve got too much freedom youre like the way Hong Kong is now. Its very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic...Im gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If were not being controlled, well just do what we want.

Chinese Approach to Negotiations

Sanmao Journalist and China expert James McGregor wrote in the Washington Post, China is about unity, focus and leverage. Chinese officials and business executives are obsessed with a single question: What advantage do I have over you? Henry Kissinger wrote in Newsweek, "China's approach to policy is skeptical and prudent...impersonal, patient and aloof; the Middle Kingdom has a horror of appearing supplicant. Where Washington looks to good faith and good will as the lubricant of international relations, Beijing assumes that statesmen have done their homework, and will understand subtle indirections." The Chinese often "indicate a strong preference, not a condition....To the Chinese, Americans appear erratic and somewhat frivolous." Beijing takes it time making decisions. Kissinger wrote: "The Chinese maneuver to induce their opposition to propose the Chinese preference so that Chinese acquiescence can appear as the granting of a boon to the interlocutor....When faced with what is considered a legacy of colonialism, China is prone to bully in order to demonstrate its imperviousness to pressure. Any hint of condescension or sign that Chinese territorial integrity is nor being taken seriously evokes strongand to Americans, seeming excessivereaction." One Chinese scholar, who has written extensively about the United States, told Time, "If you treat China as a friend, he will treat you well and will never betray you. Treat him like an enemy and he'll fight back without hesitation."

Chinese Love of Business and Money

Sanmao In the Mao era Chinese prided themselves on their frugality and desire to serve the people but today that sentiments seems like something from the distant past in fast-paced urban China. One Chinese man told the New York Times, The things we care about most in China now are money, money, and money. Another said, "Its all money-grubbing. Many Chinese have lost their sense or morality and ethics. One woman told the New York Times, "Chinese people never talked so much about money before. Now they are always talking about salaries and stocks and joint ventures." One Chinese woman told the Washington Post, People here dont want any more Cultural Revolutions or war. We like material things. In a poll in the 1990s, 68 percent of the Chinese said their attitude towards life was work hard and get rich." Only 4 percent said it was "never think of yourself; give everything in service of society." In a 1997 survey by the Leo Burnett ad: 64 percent of Chinese agreed that making money is most important part of career, compared to 27 percent of Americans. In a survey in China in 2005, nearly three quarters of those asked said that money was the most important thing. A desire to make money is not something that is deeply rooted in Confucianism. Merchants and businessmen were at the bottom of the Confucian social order. Sons have traditionally been taught to give whatever money they made to their parents. Seeking wealth has become an end to itself to a point that for many people nothing else matters and many people are spiritually adrift. Yang Yo, a singer who is sometimes called the Bob Dylan of China, told the International Herald Tribune, Few people in China think about a simple life of following dreams, ideals and knowing who you are. The just sit around talking about how to make more money.

Chinese Directness, Openess and Earthiness

Sanmao In some situations Chinese can be very indirect, but in other situations they can be very direct,open and frank to the point of tactlessness. One aspect of Chinese "peasant directness" is that Chinese are not as shy about talking about their feces and urine as Americans. They often excuse themselves from social gatherings by saying the equivalent of "I have to take a shit" or "I have to take a piss" when they have to go the bathroom. When Theroux once asked a Chinese man on the train what he just did, he said, "I vomited in the toilet." Chinese will sometimes openly laugh at the way foreigners look and dress and make comments about their noses and the way they speak Chinese. The same is true with feeling. Unlike the Japanese and other Asians who often mask their feelings, the Chinese often not shy about expressing their feelings. One Uighur told the New Yorker, The Chineseif they dont like you, its always clear. A guidebook for Chinese by Hong-Kong-born London-based Chinese advised his readers: Dont ask foreign women how old they are. Chinese are often ask people they have just met: their age, marital status, how much money they make, and whether or not they have a boyfriend or girlfriendquestions that Westerners regards as personal and prying. Chinese ask these questions for a couple of reasons. First all they are curious. Second, they want know a person's age and marital status so they know how to address the person. See Spitting, Urinating, Spiritual Civilization Campaign, Customs

Socializing and Privacy in China

fight People like to hang out and socialize on the street, in courtyards or in open public spaces. Conversation is a major pastime and people enjoy joking around and teasing one another. Things are often done with the help of personal contacts. If you can't find someone with a service you need you find someone who does know such a person. Homes are open to family and friends. Brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts are frequent visitors. Friends often dont knock when they visit, they just walk in. It is not usual

for guests to spend the night. There is not an emphasis on privacy and calling ahead to let people know you are coming like there is in the United States. "The search for personal privacy is a pervasive theme in the daily life of people who live in small villages," wrote Columbia anthropologist Marvin Harris. Villagers "apparently know too much about each other's business for their own good...One must whisper to secure privacywith walls of thatch there are no closed doors. The village is filled with irritating gossip about men who are impotent or who ejaculate too quickly, and about women's behavior during coitus and the size, color, and odor of their genitalia." In poor villages sometimes seven people sleep together in a single room and parents have sex while their children are sleeping.

Social Activities, Singing and Photos in China

While Chinese can be shy and suspicious they can also be very outgoing, generous, curious and genuinely friendly. Many enjoy speaking English with strangers or going out drinking and having a good time. A Sinologist with Warner Brothers told the Los Angeles Times: Chinese people are very verbal, have vivid imaginations. However, they generally don't invite people to their house, which is regarded as private place just or family members.

dumpling fight Chinese like to do things in groups. They feel comfortable doing things with their friends and get a certain sense of security and reassurance from being with people like themselves. They tend to be absorbed in the group and their activities and could care less about what people outside their group think of them. Chinese are not so comfortable with American-style cocktail partes. One executive with the Chinese computer compnay Lenovo told Time, We stand there and talk to each their. Thats just not our style. Chinese generally are shyer about dancing than singing, whereas the reverse is true about many Westerners. Chinese children generally have few opportunities to dance when they grow up and feel awkward doing it, but they do a lot of singing in school and tend to regard it as a fun activity like recess or sports. Among Chinese adults karaoke is very popular. In parks, people often sit in groups of twenty or thirty and sing songs or put on plays or operas. Chinese singers with good voices of course are admired more than those with bad voices but even bad singers are applauded for their effort. See Social Customs Chinese are also fond of having photographs taken of themselves with their friends and are particularly fond of having their picture taken in front of anything considered wacky, different or strange. Chinese on hiking trips seem to do more photo-taking than hiking. This is because Chinese treasure their friends and the memory of good times, and the value of an activity is often measured more in the bonding that takes place than with the activity itself, plus they get enjoyment from posing and looking at the photos later on. Photos without people in them are considered boring.

Happiness, Jokes and Sense of Humor in China

When asked about the quality of their life on a 1 to 10 scale, 23 percent of the Chinese surveyed ranked themselves as 7 or better, compared to 60 percent in the United States and 8 percent in Tanzania. The Chinese have a saying extreme happiness begets tragedy. The Chinese actress Bai Ling told Time, Chinese culture is more laid back...The West is always too busy to respect silence. In the early 1600s, Matteo Ricci observed that the Chinese are quite content with what they this respect they are different from the peoples of Europe who are frequently discontent with their own governments and covetous of what others enjoy. While the nations of the West seem to be entirely consumed with supreme domination, they cannot even preserve what their ancestors bequeathed them, as the Chinese have done through a period of some thousands of years.

Hong Kong radio and television personality Harry Wong told Newsweek: "The Chinese have quite a vulgar sense of humor, but it's subtle. The Chinese are discreet. The humor is much more complex, and calculated with a lot of wordplay and puns. the complexity of Chinese characters allow poetic schemes on dirty jokes." Chinese are more selective than Americans about what they can poke fun of. Hung-hsiang Chou, a Chinese culture specialist at UCLA told the Los Angeles Times, Americans make fun of everything. China has taboos. Ancestors are off-limits. They also dont ridicule their leaders, who are only fair game after theyve fallen from grace. Chinese also dont like it when a senior person is teased in front of his juniors. Many Chinese jokes are puns or play on words. The tonal Chinese language provides many opportunities for jokers and wits because a single pronunciation can have several wildly different meanings. Many jokes circulate online, or via text message on mobile phones. Chinese sometimes have difficulty understanding American sarcasm. When Channel V veejay Nonie Tao showed a postcard of New York sent from India, and commented about what a nice view of India it was, she received tons of letters saying: "That was New York stupid!" Image Sources: 1) Losing Face, from some blog; 2) drawings from Citizens posters. University of Washington; 3) photgraphs, ; Liu Bolin, Chinas Invisible Man artist, Global Times Chinese: ; You Tube


Forbidden City in Beijing Regionalism is a strong force in China. Sheila Melvin wrote in the International Herald Tribune, "Cities and provinces sniff disdainfully at one another and implement policies to guard their resources from their neighbors. Every coastal city has to have its own deep water port and every province its own airlines." R.N. Anil wrote in the China Daily: "The Chinese are a people with diverse physical traits, dialects and traditions. They are multicultural, multireligious, and a multiethnic society, having as many a 55 ethnic groups as diverse and interesting as the geography and the history of the country they inhabit. Several of them are descendant of Arabs who came here via the Silk Road in early centuries."

Northern Chinese Versus Southern Chinese

Shanghai Pudong skyline People from northern and southern China are physically and genetically different from one another. Head shape, body size and susceptibility to disease vary greatly between the north and south. People from Beijing and northern China are often heavier and taller and have broader shoulders, lighter skin, smaller eyes and more pointed noses than Southerners. They favor noodles over rice, have the blood of horsemen from Manchuria and Mongolia, and are regarded as "imperious, quarrelsome, rather aloof, political, proud, and less ostentatious and flashy with their money than Southerners. Beijingers often saw goodbye to one another with an expression that is translated as "Take it slow."

People from Shanghai, Canton and southern China are generally smaller, thinner, browner, and have rounder eyes and more rounded noses than Northerners. They favor rice over noodles, look more like Vietnamese, Filipinos and Southeast Asians and are regarded as "talkative, friendly, complacent, sloppy, commercial-minded and materialistic." The dividing line between Northerners and Southerners is the Yangtze River. In the 19th century one man from northern China wrote: "The Cantonese...are a course set of people...Before the times of Han and Tang, this country was quite wild and wasted, and these people have sprung forth unconnected, unsettled vagabonds that wandered here from the north."

Beijing Versus Shanghai

Red Guards in Beijing There is a strong rivalry between Beijing and Shanghai. Beijing held the upper hand as China's capital was boosted by the 2008 Summer Olympics, which occasioned a $45-billion makeover and brought the city the world's attention, along with 1 million visitors. Shanghainese sat sullen through the festivities. They weren't really cheering, is how one Shanghaiese put it.[Source: Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2010] The 2010 World Expo put Shanghai back in the spotlight. Shanghai spent nearly $60 billion on the expo and improvements to infrastructure. It eight new subway lines, bringing its total to 11 lines with 246 miles of track. (Beijing has eight lines over 120 miles.) Beijing brought in 3,000 portable toilets for the Olympics; Shanghai, 8,000 for the expo. Both Shanghai and Beijing built new airport terminals. [Ibid] Barbara Demick of the Los Angeles Times wrote: Shanghai got better marks for modernizing without destroying too much of the city's original character. In renovating its Bund area, shunting cars underground and removing an ugly flyover, Shanghai's planners were praised for restoring a riverfront quay to its 1930s glory; Beijing took flak for bulldozing many of its hutongs, the quaint alleys in the historic center...Once running neck and neck as a tourist destination, Shanghai pulled way ahead this year, with more than 70 million people expected to visit the expo. [Ibid] Beijing has the top universities, the culture, the grandeur and history, the palaces of Qing emperors past and Communist Party chieftains present. Its main roads are wide enough to deploy a column of tanks. Beijing is a male city, Shanghai is a female city, a professor at Shanghai University and one of the city's best-known public intellectuals, told the Los Angeles Times. A Shanghai-born businessman who now lives in Beijing, said: In Shanghai,

people stand in line waiting for the bus. In Beijing, if you drive a Mercedes-Benz, you can run over people with impunity. [Ibid]

History of Beijing-Shanghai Rivalry

opium smoker in Old Shanghai Shanghai is regarded as more foreigner-friendly. The most vivid illustration of this is its acceptance of 30,000 Jewish refugees during World War II. Although the colonial period is now part of the distant past, the neighborhoods of the old French, Russian, American and British concessions retain enough of their character to keep the tradition alive.[Source: Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2010] After the communist victory in 1949, Shanghai's cultural predominance was eclipsed by Beijing's. The city remained, however, the financial capital. Through the 1980s, it paid a staggering share of China's total tax revenue, by some estimates, 70 percent. [Ibid] Although former Chinese President Jiang Zemin served as Shanghai's mayor and party secretary, the influence of the so-called Shanghai clique has been eclipsed since Hu Jintao became president in 2003. Then Chen Liangyu, a later Shanghai party secretary, was ousted on corruption charges and replaced on the Politburo by Xi Jinping, the current favorite to succeed Hu as president. [Ibid] Shanghai has become a really beautiful city again with the expo, but the center of power is Beijing, a Shanghai businessman said. You drive up and down the ring roads of Beijing and you see the headquarters of the companies Petrochina, China Mobile.... It is the nature of this form of government. [Ibid]

People from Beijing

Street dumplings in Beijing The residents of Beijing are often described as thermosescold on the outside and warm on the inside and gregarious. They are also regarded by other Chinese as aloof and having a droll, ironic sense of humor. Todd Carrel, a former bureau chief in Beijing for ABC news, wrote in National Geographic, "I found Beijingers hospitable and generous...Standoffish at first, they open up with a little encouragement, eager to talk about life in the West, politics, culture, personalitiesno morsel too small...They were frank, opinionated and cheeky, as evidenced by the jokes...Beijingers...were, in short, as tough as dragons hide, the ultimate survivors...One anchor is family. Another is humor, which is usually acrid and never far beneath the surface." One film maker told the Los Angeles Times, People from Beijing love to talk politics and critique society. In Beijing there is a deeply embedded ye, or master, culture formed by being at the center of north imperialist and Communist power. Beijing is a historical city and the former center of a great empire. Today it is the heart of the officially-sanctioned culture of the ruling Communist party and the home of its intellectual, literary and artistic elite, which gives it a reputation for being edgier and more avant grade than other places. Shanghaiese regard Beijingers as warmhearted but country bumpkins at heart, ill-mannered and unable to hold their liquor. One man from Shanghai told the Washington Post, Beijing people are a little crude. Another told a story of woman in Beijing who watched a man open a car door for a woman and asked her boyfriend why never did that. Ah, hes from Shanghai, the boyfriend said, as if that explained everything. On 58-year-old watchman in Shanghai told the Washington Post, Beijing people give us the impression of being rude, freewheeling and bad-tempered. An argument of a few sentences will trigger a fight in Beijing, that kind of thing. When asked what she thinks about Beijingers a 56-year-old Shanghai restaurateur put her hands on hips, scowled, puffed out her chest and squared her shoulders, doing the best imitation of a pompous bureaucrat, and told the Los Angeles Times, They stand like this. They're sooo annoying. Just because they come from the capital, they act like they're running the country.[Source: Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2010]

Anti-Foreigner Sentiments in Beijing?

Bicycle riders in 1980s Beijing Film critic Shelly Kraicer wrote: During a recent interview with an independent Chinese journalist, I was somewhat taken an anonymous commenter who was skeptical that Westerners could be so interested in debating Chinese movies and ideology, when in fact it has nothing to do with them? [Source: Shelly Kraicer, dGenerate Films, July 21, 2010] At the risk of answering one cultural judgment with another, I find this display of an aggressively protective attitude to Chinese culture to be distinctly Beijing-ese. Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai tend to be much more relaxed about foreigners in their midst, given their cosmopolitan histories. Their urban intellectual cultures more readily admit other voices foreign voices, alternative points of view with fewer hangups than Beijings thriving and otherwise open intellectual culture. People in Beijing are often curious about what Im working on (film research, for example), and are curious to hear my opinions, though they often far too quickly take these as somehow representative of a particular template of what a Westerner thinks about our Chinese movies (which is rather often far from the case, especially with my willfully idiosyncratic readings of what Im watching here). But there comes a point in most conversations I have with Chinese colleagues where things sadly grind to a halt, to a refrain something like there are just certain things you wont be able to understand, since youre not Chinese. You can almost hear the intended effect: the portcullis clangs down, the drawbridge ratchets up, and the castle is secure with you safely outside. What can a non-Chinese person say to that? Any attempt to argue the point circles back to demonstrate that you just cant know. Its a completely selfsealing argument.

People from Shanghai

Brook Larmer wrote in National Geographic, Shanghai natives form an urban tribe, set apart from the rest of China by language, customs, architecture, food, and attitudes. Their culture, often called haipai (Shanghai style), emerged from the city's singular history as a meeting point of foreign merchants and Chinese migrants. But over the years it has become a hybrid that confounds the very idea of East and West. "In foreigners' eyes Shanghai is part of 'mysterious China,'" says Zhou Libo, a local comedian. "In the eyes of other Chinese, Shanghai is part of the outside world." [Source: Brook Larmer, National Geographic, March 2010] The people of Shanghai are considered "blunt, offhand, presumptuous and affluent." Traditionally more worldly, Westernized and wealthy than other Chinese, they like their food cooked in rapeseed oil and view themselves as different form other Chinese, who they sometimes dismiss as still living in the Stone Age. The rapid Shanghai dialect is difficult for those outside the Shanghai area to understand. Shanghainese are sometimes compared to New Yorkers. They both carry themselves with haughty superiority and share a sort of "it-stinks-but-its-great" attitude about their cities. One Hong Kong banker said the Shanghainese "have a strong sense of self-importance." Both Shanghai and New York have traditionally been regarded as places where one can find anything: fashion, drugs, girls...and boys.Others have compared Shanghai people with Singaporeans. Peter Kwan, a professor of Asian American studies at Hunter College, wrote in the New York Times, the people of Shanghai, whether rich or poor, have always regarded themselves to be more rational and efficient than their countrymen. They have always reproached the people of Beijing for talking about politics, while they themselves got things done. They are especially proud of their trademark way of doing thingsthe so-called haipai style. People from Shanghai live to an average of 76.5 years, about 6 years longer than the people form the rest of the country. The mayor of Shanghai told the Washington Post that the reason for this is that they do tai chi exercises every morning and go to bed before 10 every night. One Shanghainese trait is its obsession with the new. Unlike other parts of China, which feel the weight of ancient history, young Shanghai is always seeking the cutting edge.

Sammy's bandmates call her "the quintessential Shanghai girl" not simply because she looks abroad for her cues in music (rocker Avril Lavigne), fashion (the Japanese magazine Vivi), and lifestyle (her living arrangement is more Friends than Confucius). It's mainly because of the unapologetic ease with which she mixes new ideas with her Shanghainese style.

British Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 Shanghai men are reputed to be vicious in business hence the term shanghaied but wimps at home. At home, they do the dishes, take out the trash and give their wife/mistress a neck rub after the hard day she put in shopping, wrote one blogger on a site called China Forum. A 28-year-old Beijing-born teacher who moved to Shanghai for work in 2001.Shanghai people are selfish. Even the people my age, all they talk about are material things, their clothes, the stock market. All they care for is themselves and money. [Source: Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2010] The Shanghainese have a reputation for snobbery, and Chinese often complain that they feel shut out in Shanghai, perhaps because the dialect is almost incomprehensible to Mandarin speakers. Larimer wrote, "The Shanghai dialect is rich and guttural. The language has been losing ground since the 1950s, when Beijing launched its campaign to unify the country with standardized Mandarin. The crowded lilong served to sustain the dialect; in the suburbs, families often retreat to their private spaces, blocked off from each other. Even so, many proud Shanghainese use the language as a secret code to signal that they belong to the in crowdand often to ensure fair deals in local shops. Of late the Shanghaiese have tried to portray themselves as more warm-hearted and compassionate. In the autumn of 2007 Shanghai hosted the Special Olympics. More than 1,200 of the 8,000 athletes that participated were Chinese. Chinese President Hu Jintao presided over the opening ceremony. To promote the events billboards with happy-faced special athletes and signs with characters for civilization, humanism and love were posted all over town. The Shanghai mayor said the point of hosting the Special Olympics was to help create a civilized and harmonious environment for all.

Shanghaiese and Beijing

CCTV Headquarters in Beijing Many Shanghaiese disagree that Beijing is the cultural center of China. A Shanghai shopowner told the Washington Post, Shanghai has always been a more cultural city than Beijing, The French came here. The British came here. They all left their imprints. So Shanghai is more open than Beijing." Shanghai is considered a fashion center while Beijing is regarded as Chinas cultural and intellectual center. Shanghai men dress better than the Beijing women, a photographer who lives in Beijing told the Los Angeles Times. On the other hand, If you walk out your door in Beijing, you have a much better chance of bumping into somebody with whom you can have an intellectual conversation. [Source: Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2010] The Shanghai-based writer Wang Anyi told Newsweek: Shanghai people have a long tradition of following the rules. Beijing people are a bit wild and grandiose. To the Shanghainese, the Beijingers and all northerners, for that matter are peasants. They smell like garlic, the restaurateur told the Los Angeles Times, We Shanghai people keep ourselves and our homes very clean. We are more refined. We drink coffee. They only drink tea. [Ibid] Shanghai women are known for being flashier, more fashion conscious and wearing more make up than their Beijing counterparts. >Shanghai men are known for having better manners. It is said a Shanghaiese man without a shirt would make an effort to put a shirt on when greeting a guest, a Beijing man would not.

Shanghaiese and Business

Shanghai stock exchange Shanghaiese are known for business sense, savoir-fair and the embrace of all things foreign. A sign outside the airport in Shanghai reads; Welcome to Stylish Shanghai. Beijingers regard them as snobs and look down on them their crass love of money and material things and ignorance about culture, preferring to buy a new pair of shoes than a ticket to the ballet. In terms of doing business, Shanghaiese prefer to dismiss the small talk and get right to work and are known for carefully examining the fine print where as Beijingers prefer to have a big meal, make a lot toasts and drink up before settling down to business. One Shanghaiese wroter told the Washington Post, In Shanghai, we dont become brothers. If we are doing business, its cooperation, and so we sign on the dotted line. A Korean who lives in Shanghai told The New Yorker, You can do business with them. But you should realize that, in the end, they are always going to win.

Shanghai Versus Hong Kong

Shanghai traffic Shanghai also has a rivalry going with Hong Kong that centers around which city is going to be the financial center of China as well as which is the more vibrant, diverse, worldly and cosmopolitan city and the one that is more fun to live in and best for conducting business. The highest building in Shanghai is 26 feet taller than the one in Hong Kong (1,614 feet compared to 1,588 feet) and its subway has 11 lines, totaling 261 miles, compared to 9 lines covering 106 miles in Hong Kong. It also has more Starbucks than Hong

Kong (122 to 106 in 2010) . The decision to building a Disney theme park in the Shanghai was seen by Hong Kong as a major blow. [Source: Keith Richburg, September 28, 2010, Washington Post] Hong Kong is home to 7 million people. It has income tax rates of 15 percent and corporate tax rates of 16.5 percent and had 1,298 multinational companies with regional headquarters and $48.4 billion in direct foreign investment in 2009. By contrast Shanghai is home to 19.2 million people. It has income tax rates of 45 percent and corporate tax rates of 25 percent and had 260 multinational companies with regional headquarters and $13.3 billion in direct foreign investment in 2009. [Source: Washington Post] Murray King of the Shanghai-based APCO consulting firm told the Washington Post, Shanghai is trying to be the Hong Kong of China ...It is also trying to be the Detroit of China from an automotive perspective, its trying to be a Seattle of China from an aerospace perspective, and its trying to be Silicon Valley from an IT perspective. Hong Kongers still view Shanghai like mainland China itself as wild, disorderly and illmannered place. One Hong Kong businessman told the Washington Post, Shanghai seems quite mainland, and thats code-speak for not quite civilized. Shanghaiese regard Hong Kong as having had its day in the sun and is now on the decline. Xu Minqi, a Shanghai-based economist told the Washington Post, The problem with Hong Kong is they need to change their infrastructure, especially their soft infrastructure...They need to attract talent, to develop new science and technology. There is widespread feeling that to much wealth in Hong Kong is generated by real estate and industries are hallowing out. Minqi added, But Hong Kong companies know how to make money.

Fujians and Cantonese

Beijing traffic Cantonese are regarded as very materialistic One Chinese man told The New Yorker, All people think is, I just what to get rich. The richer you get, the more respect youll get. And the first people to get rich n the 1990s, were the Cantonese. Then people in other provinces started to copy the Cantonese life style, part of which is to eat a lot of seafood to show how much money you have. The people from Fujian are regarded as hard working and are famous for their entrepreneurial and counterfeiting skills. Many of the Chinese in Taiwan, Malaysia,

Indonesia, Thailand and the United States are decedents of people that emigrated from Fujian Province. Fujians have traditionally been among the most ambitious go-getters form China. Many of the rich Chinese that made their fortune in the Hong Kong, United States and Southeast Asia have been Fujians. Enterprising Fujians are still breaking new ground, in Africa and other places. One Fujian native, Yang Jie, arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi in the mid 1990s. By the mid 2000s he owned and operated the largest ice cream company in Malawi.


Sichuanese females Sichuanese are regarded as tough, lively, passionate, earthy and warm and are famous for their ability to "eat bitter." They have prospered outside of Sichuan but are not well liked. Sichuanese women are regarded as the most beautiful in China but also as temperamental, tempestuous and loose. Sichuan men are thought of as tricky and sly. The Sichuanese are known for being tougher, more able and hard working than other Chinese. One Sichianese survivor of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake told the Washington Post, our mothers and fathers teach us from an early age. We all know how to eat bitters A factory worker who lost everything in the quake said, I could cry but what good would that do. In the early years if the Communist struggle, Sichuan soldiers were famous for enduring more suffering than soldiers from other regions. Explaining how the rugged countryside in Sichuan has helped the Sichuanese to eat bitter, a 76-year-old Sichuanese man said, the mountains around here are not easy to live in. Everybody knows how to endure hardship. People in Chengdu have a reputation for knowing how to relax and enjoy life.

Wenzhou People
People from Wenzhou are famous throughout China for their business and money-making skills. Books about them include The Jews of the East: The Commercial Stories of Fifty Wenshou Businessmen; You Dont Understand the Wenzhou People; and The Feared Wenzhou People, the Collected Stories of How the Wenzhou People Make Money.

Wenzhou people are often mocked by other Chinese for their flashy ways and strange dialect. They are admired and disliked for their entrepreneurship. Many of the wealthiest Wenzhouese are Christians. With little arable land and mountains blocking them from the interior of the mainland, the people of Wenzhou have traditionally looked to the sea, trading and opportunities abroad to improve themselves. They promoted the idea that the government should support commercial enterprises during the Song Dynasty in the 12th century and developed a strong trading culture during the Ming period in the 17th century and managed to emerge as an economic powerhouse in recent years without the education levels of Beijing, the special treatment of Shenzhen and the foreign investment of Shanghai. Wenzhou people have succeeded through hard work, starting out with small businesses and workshops and expanding them. Over time they have come to dominate certain low-tech industries. Zhong Pengrong, a prominent economist told the Los Angeles Times, Wherever there are business opportunities there are Wenzhou people...Unlike many other people in China who become rich overnight almost all the Wenzhou people built up their wealth from nothing and amassed their fortune through years of hardship. Two million Wenzhouese live abroad. The are big in the restaurant business in France, Russia, Italy and Brazil and involved in outsourcing Chinese manufacturing work to Vietnam and North Korea. Wenzhou people can be found everywhere: shipping 10,000 VCRs a month and mining iron and gold in Mongolia; mining molybdenum in North Korea; buying cow leather in Tanzania; and trading shrimp and turbot in Iceland. One Wenzhou man in Inner Mongolia who has four brothers and sisters in Italy told the Los Angeles Times, My parents told us, Go out and explore. The farther you reach, the stronger you get.

Wenzhou Wealth
Wenzhou makes half the worlds cheap shoes, nearly all of its plastic leather, bra part and zippers, and numerous other essential parts to everyday items. Sales of Audis, BMWs and even Maseratis Porsches and Bentleys are brisk in Wenzhou as are the sales of vanity licence plates for outrageous prices. To really impress your friends you need to buy an executive jet or $50,000 Vertu delux mobile phone. Tens of thousands of bottles of Margaux and Chateaux Lafit have been give as gifts and mixed with green tea and sugar before being gulped down. Wenzho is known for its "ruthless" merchants who wreck havoc with property markets everywhere." It s not surprising that housing prices in Wenzhou are among the highest in China. Buying property is a pastime with real estate investments sought not in new apartment building in Wenzhou but also residential blocks in Paris. Wenzhou has a new airport and an opera houses designed by the famous Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott. Malls in Wenzhou are stacked with band name luxury goods. Furniture stores sell knocks off of items displayed in the Louvre. The new $128 million Shangri-La hotel was built mainly to host extravagant weddings for pampered children who in some cases have been educated at some of Britains most famous boarding schools. In one survey Wenzhou millionaires were asked what they would do if they were forced to chose between their business and their family60 percent chose their business, 20 percent chose their family and 20 percent couldnt decide. Wenzhou business people tend to be very

superstitious, laying out their factories in accordance with feng shui and starting business on auspicious days. Wenzhouese have made bids for fashion company Pierre Cardin and tried to buy Michael Jacksons Neverland Ranch and bring it to Wenzhou


Chinese society was shaped for a long time by Confucianism and then by Communism and now by making money. Otherwise China is a very diverse place and the Chinese are a diverse group of people. Attitudes, feeling and values vary from individual to individual, group to group and region to region and it is difficult to make generalizations. Most societies in Southeast Asia are characterized by bilateral descent while societies in China, Korea and Japan are characterized by patrilineal descent. In the former sons or daughters may inherit property while in the latter only sons inherit property and in many cases traditionally have taken up the same trades as their fathers In the past the Communist Party made many decisions about a person's private life, telling them when and who to marry, what birth control methods to use, and what jobs to take. Today, life is much more about choice than it used to be. People now have more say in choosing their jobs, their spouses and they things they want to buy though arguably their lives are still more constrained than those of people living in the West. Chinese society has gone through enormous changes in the past century and changes in daily and economic life have been particularly rapid in the past decade. A popular expression that describes how fast society is changing goes: "He who thinks is lost." Good Websites and Sources: Book: Civil Discourse, Civil Society and Chinese Communities by Randy Kluver, John Powers/ ; Book: Studies in Chinese Society by Arthur Wolfe, Emily Ahern, Emily Martin/ ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Library of Congress ; Sources on Chinese Society ; Mao on Classes in Chinese Society ; Disparity of Income ; Chinatown Connection ; Book: Chinese Society:


Confucianism, Structure and Hierarchy

Prof. John Howkins wrote in the Australian,"The Chinese are always conscious of rank and position. One hesitates to say class, but it's the right word. Everything has its place, and knowing one's place produces the much-loved harmony. But creativity thrives by being different, and art weaves its magic by being shocking and disruptive." [Source: The Australian July 28, 2008]

Confucius Confucianism is credited with making Chinese society fiercely patriarchal and defining its social stratification with: 1) scholar-bureaucrats at the top, because they had the knowledge and wisdom to maintain social order; followed by 2) farmers, because they produced the necessary goods; and 3) the artisans, because they possessed necessary skills. At the bottom were 4) merchants. All they did was buy and sell things. Society began to change when the merchant class made money and used it to increase their power, prestige and education level. Some argue that traditional stratification has broken down and been replaced by a new hierarchy with merchant-bureaucrats at the top, farmers are at the bottom, and artisans being replaced by factory workers and migrant labor and scholars being repressed by the government.

Structure and hierarchy have traditionally been very important in all levels of Chinese society. People are expected to observe mores on rank and position and show humility and deference to their superiors. By showing deference one tends to raise their own position in the view of others rather than lower it. See Confucianism. Today there is some confusion as to what the most important structures and hierarchies are. Tim Doctoroff author of Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer, told the Times of London, All Chinese people are struggling between a very ambitious goal-oriented rigid social structure and the importance to conform to clearly defined social structures. Theres a need to advance without shattering the crystal plate.

Confucian Beliefs About Social Relationships

Filial piety Confucius was not interested in individual salvation or individual rights. What he cared about most was the collective well being of society. He promoted virtues such as courtesy, selflessness, obedience, respect, diligence, communal obligation, working for a common good, social harmony, and empathy. The code of behavior he described was based on a system of harmonious, subordinate relationships based on the notions of filial piety, a well-ordered family, a well-ordered-state and a well-ordered world. Confucians stress that a persons worth is determined by public actions. The concept of li defines a set of social relationships and clearly described how people are supposed to behave towards one another. Fealty in Confucian terms takes five forms: 1) subject to ruler, 2) son to father, 3) younger brother to older brother, 4) wife to husband (woman to man), and 5) younger person to older person. Under the concept the li, the dominate person receives respect and obedience from the subordinate person but is by no means a dictator. He is supposed to reciprocate with love, goodwill, support and affection towards the subordinate person. The Confucian code of subordinate relationships also extended to professions, with scholars at the top. Confucian scholars used to grow their fingernails long to show they didn't do physical labor. Under Confucian systems crimes were often dealt with by ostracism and humiliation rather than physical punishment.

Rules, Goals and Harmony in China

Following rules is expected of the masses and is seen as putting the needs of the group ahead of the desires of individuals. "The problem of human equality," wrote historian Daniel Boorstin, was not vivid in China. There, where tradition and customs ruled, the best qualities of life were viewed as products of Chinese tradition and customs." Chinese put a strong emphasis on social harmony and group consensus. Traditional Chinese society was bound together by the two important concepts: 1) an agreement on community responsibilities that everyone in a neighborhood or village was party to; and 2) a method of organizing a community so that everyone helped everyone else with agricultural chores such as planting, weeding, harvesting and winnowing to make sure all these tasks were done efficiently for everyone in the community. One American educator who has worked extensively in China told the Los Angeles Times, Its a very organized society, and when they set their mind to go a particular direction, they are able to drive things in that direction. There is strong emphasis on working hard together for common goals. One Chinese saying goes: Endurance can turn a iron bar into a needle. All one has to do is look at the Great Wall or the Grand Canal to see what this kind of thinking can achieve or look at the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution to see what it can destroy. Today you can see what happens when working hard together for common goals is applied to making money and producing economic growth. Getting Chinese to work together isnt always easy. There are a lot of conflicting interests, competition and one upmanship in China. One old Chinese saying goes: eight departments cant even cooperate in raising a pig.

Conformity, Exclusion and Individualism in China

Conformity is a strong force in China. Going against the grain is not encouraged and being labeled as different can be a crushing insult. You see few punk rockers in China and men with earrings, long hair or pony tails stand out. One of the worst fears of

many Chinese is to be excluded from a group. The nail that sticks up get hammered down is an expression in China as it is in Japan. Still, the Chinese also have a reputation of being more individualistic that other Asians. "The Chinese have never been able to organize collective effort with the sort of enthusiasm and efficiency of the Japanese," Scholar William McNeil once wrote. "There is a kind of ruthless individualism in Chinese life, a competitiveness and acquisitiveness." There are also so many people in China that individuals have to assert themselves or they get lost. The Chinese have a highly developed sense of in group and out group which means they are more likely than Westerners to do things for their friends and less for strangers. Chinese can be rude to people they dont know. Stability and predictability have traditionally been valued more than flair and spontaneity; maintaining appearances has been more important than self expression. Expressing individual rights taken for granted in the West can land someone in jail or a labor camp in China.

Individualism Versus Collectivism in China

There is a Chinese proverb that goes: The bird who sticks out his head gets shot." Behavioral and sociological test often show that Americans emphasize individuals where as Chinese and other Asians stress relations and contexts. To generalize even further people in Western countries tend to value rights and privacy and are likely overvalue their skills and their importance in a group while people in Asian societies tend to value collective action, duty and harmony and tend to understate their skills and downplay their contributions to the group. When an American is shown a fish tank full of fish he more often than not they describe the biggest fish. When a Chinese or Asian person is shown the same tank he usually describes the context in which the fish swim. When an American is shown a picture of a chicken, cow and hay and told put together he usually picks the cow and chicken as both are animals. When a Chinese or Asian person is asked to do the same task he usually picks the cow and the hay, since the cow need the hay to survive, thus stressing the relational aspects of the picture. The conclusion here is that Americans tend to categorize things will Asians stress relationships. There are a number of theories that attempt to explain these difference, Some say that Western values have their roots in ancient Greek Philosophy with its emphasis on individualism, reasoning and self discovery, ideas that were built up in Renaissance and Enlightenment. They then go onto say that Asian values have their roots in Confucianism, which emphasizes harmony and propriety, and this in turn is rooted in a kind of tribalism. Some have suggested that collective societies are most likely to spring up in hot areas with a lot if disease as means shunning outsiders who might bring in disease. Most societies are collective in nature. There are few individualist ones. Some studies seem to indicate that individual choice is an illusion, rational choices are made taking into consideration of subconscious and social influences and that collectiveness is most in tune with human nature. Many would ague that relationships are a key to happiness. People with

the most friends and social networks find success in their lives while people who have few social bonds are more likely to be depressed or contemplate suicide. On changes in attitudes among Chinese athletes one American Beijing resident told the Washington Post, Here in China we care about the nation. In America you care about just the individual. This is changing, the young people care about the individual here now. They just want to play for themselves. For the older people they just want to play for the nation.

Liu Bolin, Chinas Invisible Man artist and what its like to be one in 1.3 bilion

Lack of Trust in China

Traditional bonds of trust and keeping ones word have been weakened in recent years. Lawyers dont trust their clients who often slip out without paying their bills. Nor do they trust judges who often make their decisions based on politics rather than the merits of the case. Job applicant lie to potential employers. Clients rip off their customers. Husbands have affairs. Friends cheat friends and uncles steal money from their nephews. [Source: Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times, December 2006] Mark Magnier wrote in the Los Angeles Times, Rules arent clear and must be navigated on the fly. The food supply is full of life-threatening fakes. Factories spew chemicals into the air and water at alarming rates. Power and connections far outweigh justice, and social tension is growing. One Chinese lawyer told the Los Angeles Times, Living in such a society is tiring for everyone. Youre forced to be vigilant so you dont fall into pits, which are everywhere.

Everybody is a victim and at the same time is an offender. A Chinese sociologist said Mistrust in China is less a problem of individual morality than the system. Even someone so moral he'd jump into the water to save a drowning person might still cheat to survive." Reasons for the lack of trust include 1) the Cultural Revolution and other social and political upheavals that undermined traditional Confucian bonds, relationships and moral codes; 2) the immaturity of the market economy and its emphasis on making money above all else; and 3) the lack of religion and a fair justice system. The transformation to a market economy has made China a very competitive place with people doing anything the can to get an edge. If one has connections however one can easily skirt the rules or even arrogantly ignore them. If one lacks connections or is otherwise powerless they can easily be trampled on by those with power and connections.

Space, Crowds and Privacy in China

Chinese are rarely alone. They like crowds and street life, they keep the doors of their homes open, and like many other Asians, they enjoy traveling in groups and going where everyone else is going. The Chinese fondness for crowds is summed up with the word renao, meaning hot and clamorous. The Chinese are able to live together in close quarters with a minium of friction. What would seem like an unbearable lack of privacy and space to Westerns seems cozy and neighborly to Chinese. New arrivals are told to pull up a seat rather than rebuffed. Privacy isn't as important to Chinese as it is to Westerners. It is not unusual for a passenger on train to share his or her four person compartment with a 78-year-old women and a honeymooning couple doing what newlyweds usually do on their first night together. On the trains you also see people doing their washing, partying to loud rock music from cassette players, playing cards, and lounging around in their underwear or pajamas. Many Chinese customs, values and personality traits arise from the fact that Chinese live so close together in such a crowded place. Everyday Chinese navigate and maneuver their way on crowded sidewalks and roads and sit elbow to elbow in small restaurants. If there weren't strict rules and a high degree of tolerance for things Westerners perceive as rude behavior, people would be at each other's throats more than they already are.

Personal space is hard to find in China and thus the concept of privacy is more of state of mind than a condition of being alone. The Chinese are very good at shutting out the world around them and making their own privacy and losing themselves in their thoughts or what they are doing while surrounded by people. Chinese have a hard time understanding the desire of some Western too be alone, sometimes interpreting this desire as arrogance. Communists taught people to eschew secrets and share everything. In Beijing it became common for people to socialize seated on toilets with no doors or partitions. The playwright Guo Shixing told the Los Angeles Times, Privacy is a concept only recently adapted from the West. Everyone was supposed to be equal. And if you had anything different from the others you became the focus of attention. By sharing the toilet since childhood, you lost all shyness.

Village Society in China

Village society is often tradition bound and built around loyalty to family, extended families and hometowns. The basic political and social units in village societies are the tribe, clan, family and the village. Elders and leaders wield much authority. Many villages are made of a single extended clan often with a single name such as Ma. Traditional societies are often based on three elements: prestige, competition between clans and individuals, and the concept of reciprocity of gifts of money, goods or services. Prestige is measured in terms of political power, knowledge, material possessions and the ability to accomplish feats. Village societies are held together by systems of community responsibilities in which everyone agrees to help everyone else with agricultural chores such as planting, harvesting, and building irrigation ditches as well as things like constructing community buildings. Leaders make sure all these tasks are done efficiently for everyone in the community and no one sluffs off. The social code that defines community responsibilities is often combined with religion, mythology, tradition, morality and tribal law. Leaders are sometimes believed to be aided by supernatural forces in carrying out the community's tasks. Most of the world's societies are patrilineal, meaning that things like social status, property and family names are all inherited along patrilineal linespassed down from father to son. Kin groups are also usually patrilineal. This means that relatives of the father of an individual are welcomed as family while those of the individuals mother are welcomed as guests.

Societal Conflicts in Villages and Lack of Change in China

Village life can be very competitive. There is often a struggle for resources bubbling just under the surface. Villagers know each other well and conflicts seldom arise by accident. Slights are assumed to be deliberate and they often are. Once a conflict gets going it often persists and structures are created to manage it not resolve it. According to the Encyclopedia of Culture: Villagers live by tradition and lack the incentives, knowledge, or security to make changes. Change is seen as a disruptive force and

threatening to the harmonious relationships that villagers have established with their environment and their fellow villagers. Villages were traditionally ruled by the patriarch of the clan. Often times most of the people in a village were related and most people had the same family name. The patriarch settled disputes and oversaw community matters. Meetings were held in village clan temples, where the ancestral tablets (genealogical records) were kept.

Clans, Village Councils and Headmen in China

The most important social institutions in villages are the clan, the village council and headman, or chief. Villages are composed of perhaps five to 25 clans, with other members of clans sometimes living in other villages, sometimes not. Clan leaders make up the village council. Clans are ranked and the leader of the highest clan is the headman (leader of the village) and the most prominent member of the village council. Villagesand cities, towns and communitieshave traditionally been dominated by powerful families and clans. Clans are usually composed of several extended families that are related to one another and usually have a common ancestor that often provides the clan members with a family name. Social status is determined by rank of a clan and the position within the clan. Status within the clan is determined by family background and meritorious deeds performed for the clan. The headman is the highest moral and legal authority in the village. He supervises the welfare of the community, settles disputes, makes decisions on water allocation, education and fishing rights and sometimes advises villagers on who to vote for. But he is by no means a dictator. Before carrying out a decision he must have the endorsement of other clan leaders in the village council. Many villages have a council house, where village people (usually men) meet to discuss problems and issues facing the village. In some societies the headman is also a shaman, healer and religious leader. In other societies healing and religious duties are taken care by someone else. Some headmen are authoritarian; others work closely with their councils; but ultimately they are the ones who have to make tough decisions and the buck stops with them. Many villages have a means of getting rid of a headman if he becomes too unpopular. There are not many examples of headwomen.

There is often some kind of liaison that acts as an intermediary between the village and the local and national government. See Local Government, Government


In China the authority of the state and maintenance of social stability have precedence over the well being of individuals and individual rights. Chinese are taught in the education system and often told by their parents to devote their energies and talents for the good of China not for their personal glory or money. Communist society has not been a classless society. Under Mao, it was essentially divided into three tiers: 1) the privileged elite that ran the country; 2) the urban, educated professional class; and 3) the blue-collar industrial workers and farmers. The most basic social divisions were between the peasants, mostly subsistence farmers bound to the land, and urban people who worked in factories and in the bureaucracy The government has the ability to mobilize large numbers of people quickly. The military is called in to help offer relief after major earthquakes or floods. Neighborhood watch teams make sure parents dont have too many children and keep an eye out for terrorists. There is an understanding in China that you can do most anything, say anything and wear anything as long as you stay out of politics and dont try to organize people. Chinese that have overstepped the bounds have ended up in jail or had to sit through self-criticism meetings and admit faults they really didn't have. Jane Macartney wrote in the Times of London that a prevailing, underlying fear pervades the system in China: Fear of trouble, fear of reprisals, fear of fines, fear of a blot on your records, fear of consequences, often vague and undefined. Good Websites and Sources: Book: Civil Discourse, Civil Society and Chinese Communities by Randy Kluver, John Powers/ ; Book: Studies in Chinese Society by Arthur Wolfe, Emily Ahern, Emily Martin/ ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Library of Congress ; Sources on Chinese Society ; Mao on Classes in Chinese Society ; Disparity of Income ; Chinatown Connection ;


Security, Lack of Responsibility and Going Through the Motions

Maoist rule fostered a widespread culture of dependency. People had few worries and made few decisions and rarely had to fend for themselves because the government took care of everything for them: housing, education, employment, material goods and even mates. Marriages were often arranged by work committees. People didnt have to look for jobs themselves. Today, many people feel shocked and betrayed by the way things they were entitled to under Mao system have been taken away. See Welfare, Government Everything was guaranteed in the Maoist system. Everyone had a job and access to social services, child care, adult education and even lunch. One woman told National Geographic, "We had our jobs, a home, and food. What bothered us was being shut in and not being able to speak our minds freely. The government regulated everything from the content of newspapers to the production of toothpaste and made almost all economic decisions. Some people went through their whole lives without having to make a major decision about the lives or their future. "In the old days everything was decided for us," one man told the Washington Post. "It was easy because we did not have to choose. Now we find we have make decisions on our own; and freedom of opinion brings along a lot more responsibility." "You learn at an early age," one man told National Geographic, "that in many instances absolutely nobody believes what the government is saying. At a political meeting a party member will talk. He'll know what he's saying is nonsense. And he'll know that you know."

Equal in Poverty and Social Obligations in China

In the old days Chinese were indoctrinated to believe they were better off than people elsewhere in the world and they believed this because there was little evidence to contradict it because Chinese had little exposure to the outside world through the media.

Nobel Prize winning poet Joseph Brodsky described life in the Communist era as "equal in poverty". There the was no private property, inherited wealth, or great income disparities. One intellectual told National Geographic, "There was a uniformity to life. Everyone was more or less equal. Everyone lived more or less OK, or equally badly, but no one was rich. Everyone dreamed about freedom, and this united them. People could recognize each other, who they were, with just a couple of words. This created a certain ambiance, a quality of human relations. It wasn't wonderful, but it was familiar." Even today many would rather see everyone poor than see a few lucky rich ones who make everyone else jealous.* Alessandra Stanley wrote in the New York Times, "There was no shame in poverty when only criminals and party officials were rich. Obscurity was noble when professional achievement was bound up with political compromise. Life was also shaped by social obligations. Many people have bad memories of working for voluntary work patrols in which they were forced to participate. Students and soldiers helped in harvest. In some places, one day every year people helped sweep up the city for no money.

Neighborhood Committees in China

On a local level the Communist Party bureaucracy has been made up of millions of neighborhood committees which have to answer to the next level up, the street or village committees. In the cities, several street committees make up a district committee which in turn are under the jurisdiction of the Municipal People's government or the Regional People's government. All of these committees follow guidelines laid out by the national government. To keep their members in line, the local committees often use social pressure in the form of face-losing criticism. Neighborhood committees in urban areas have made sure the poor are fed, the elderly are looked after, petty crimes are brought to justice, one-child polices are adhered to, and family disputesmostly between wives and mothers-in-lawsare settled. For the most part the streets in cities are safe. Some residents feel so safe they bring their beds outdoors in the summer. A typical neighborhood committee controls three blocks and contains about 1,000 households. The leader and his or 30 or so "group leaders" are in charge of hanging party propaganda posters, leading weekly meetings of the local party cell, where new polices and rules are announced. Retired women often hold the job. They are sometimes called "bound feet detectives" because of their shuffling feet and busybody attitude. [Source: Wall Street Journal]

Neighborhoods are kept in line with building bosses and their helpers, door watchers, who keep an eye on what is going on in almost every house. Informers are everywhere. Communist-era proverb: "One Chinese watches a thousand; a thousand Chinese watch one."

Work Units in China

Most Chinese also have had to answer to "community units" or "work units" (dawei) in their place of work, whether it be a factory, hospital, commune or public works project. In the old days, these organizations exerted control on almost every aspect of an individual's life: they gave out ration cards, arranged day care, supplied train tickets, chose which doctors and hospitals people wented to, decided who gets housing, set salaries and recruited party members. The lives of some people are still controlled by work units but not as many as before. Work units have been the main channels in Communist China for distributing social benefits and exerting social control. Even today they keep files on their members and often have to be consulted about personal matters such as travel or children, and are able to pressure people by reducing wages and bonuses, by denying promotions and transfers, or by taking away the job completely. In the old days, work units and neighborhood committees controlled marriages, divorces, pregnancies and birth control. To get married, a couple needed permission from a local board and a letter from an employer stating that a person was single. In some cases, employers would use their authority to solicit a bribe or demand some concession before the form was submitted. In most cases the employers provided the paper work but the couples felt inconvenienced and embarrassed asking for permission. In the Mao era, people lived in assigned housing in state dormitories, communes and factory quarters and bought food and clothing with rationed coupons.

Decline of Neighborhood Committees and Work Units

Chinese society demands much less conformity in political views and personal lifestyles than it used to, especially in the Mao era. One of thee biggest changes had been the gradual erosion of the population registration system, which tied people to their places of birth, preventing internal migration and even tourism. Neighborhood committees and work units no longer exert the control on people's lives they once did. Their powers began to diminish in the 1980s in rural areas with the rapid collapse of communes and the giving of land and decision-making power to farmers. Work units began collapsing in the cities in the 1990s as state-owned industries began going bankrupt or were shut down or restructured. There are still an estimated 500,000 neighborhood committee cadres. The leaders are paid around $250 a month. These days their duties include helping the unemployed find jobs, organizing anti-crime efforts, keeping track of childbearing women, and helping married couples stay together. From time to time, the leaders are called on to do things like count Falun Gong members. There is now some discussion about making the neighborhood committees small welfare agencies and hiring college graduates instead of retired women. See State White-Collar Workers in the Mid-2000s, Labor, Economics

Spiritual Civilization in China

In the late 1990s, the government under Jiang Zemin launched a Spiritual Civilization campaign in which people were encouraged to be more cultured and shed their bad habits. Described by Steven Mufson in the Washington Post as "one part Leninist ideology, one part Miss Manners," it covered everything from spiting in public to reuniting the motherland and advised people to pay their taxes, avoid too much raw or cold foods, take frequent showers, cut ones fingernails and perform good deeds. As part the campaign the airwaves were filled with moralizing lectures; billboards listed the "Nine Commandments" beginning with "Love Your Country"; husbands were told to help

around the house; and children were told cook "soft and mushy" meals for their elders. Some places even banned swearing and impolite behavior and created "civilized citizen" pledges. Shanghai launched a "Seven Nos" campaign (no spitting, no jaywalking, no cursing, no destruction of greenery, no vandalism, no littering and no smoking). An effort was also made to clean up the city's public toilets. Businessmen encouraged their employees not to use phrases such as "Don't have it," "Can't you see I'm busy," and "Hurry up and pay." In Dalian, citizens were promised cash rewards for reporting rude taxi drivers; travelers were fined for spitting; scavengers were banned from bagging doves and pigeons in the central squares; and soccer fans were told to tone down their insults of players on opposing teams. As part of the "One Million Party Members Care" campaign a hotline was set up in Beijing for complaints of sloppy house repairs, sanitation problems, shoddy goods and problems with urban life.

Model Towns and Model Citizens in China

Lei Feng. Model Citizen In the spiritual civilization campaign the government set up of model towns filled with placards that read: Follow Regulations, Love Your Country, Love Your City, and Be a Model Citizen. The citizens were expected to attend twice-weekly ideology classes in which people were informed about clean and dirty habits. Those who were caught gambling, arguing with neighbors or failing to put their garbage in the proper plastic bag were required to wear yellow vests that advertised their shame. Households that followed all the rules were rewarded with tax exemptions and plaques on their houses that stated they were a New Wind Family. The "spiritual civilization" campaign also honored "everyday heros and model citizens such as Xu Hu, a Shanghai plumber who fixed leaky toilets for free; Li Guon, a well-driller who helped poor villages in the Gobi Desert find water; and Li Suli, a bus conductor who arrived early to work to wash her bus and charmed passengers with her smiles and friendly advice. Other model citizens included a cancer patient who got out of bed the day after an operation an swept all the floors in the hospital, and a bank manager who helped monks at a

temple load 10 tons of coins on a truck and take it a bank where the monks opening a highinterest account. Jiang also stressed guoqing ("Chinese-ness) and launched a "Three Stresses" campaign: highlighting a need for theoretical study, political awareness and good conduct. The program was criticized as a waist of time and energy.

Harmonious Society and the Eight Virtues and Eight Shames

Hu made building a harmonious societya reference to spreading the wealth from the haves to have nots and correcting the injustices of Chinese society and combating widespread corruptiona top priority. How serious and successful he is has not yet been determined. In the hinterlands the Communist Party has done little to respond to injustices (See Protests and Demonstrations, Government). Speeches by party leaders emphasize unity and harmony but in society there is more individuality and personal freedom because people have more money and more options than they used to. Hu has promoted the idea that the solutions to Chinas problems lie in a return to Marxist and Mao ideology and Confucian values, and sees Chinese culture as providing it own moral direction, with perhaps a storng dose of nationalism thrown in for good measure. A line from the song that has accompanied the harmonious society campaign goes: Its most glorious to love the motherland, a great sin to harm her. Many are not exactly sure what all this means but some think it is a green light to some forms of dissent that allow citizens to let off steam. The Hu government has held public hearings on some controversial matters, allowed more freedom of the press and expression on the Internet and refused to wield a heavy hand when protests break out in part to let people vent their frustrations while the government maintains a firm grip on power. In step with his plan to make China a more harmonious place and combat greed and corruption. Hu issued Eight Virtues and Eight Shames: 1) Love the motherland, do not harm it; 2) Serve dont deserve people; 3) Uphold science, dont be ignorant and unenlightened; 4) Work hard, dont be lazy; 5) Be united and help each other, dont benefit at the expense of others; 6) Be honest, not profit-mongering; 7) Be disciplined and law-abiding, not chaotic and lawless; 8) Know plain living and hard struggle, do not wallow in luxuries. The message has been placed on billboards, featured on the front pages of newspapers and repeated over and over on television and radio.

Disparity of Income in China

As Chinas economy has rapidly grown, it has gone from having one of the lowest income disparities of incomes to one of the highest in a relatively short amount of time. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in the mid 2000s the top 10 percent of the Chinese population controlled 45 percent of the countrys wealth while the poorest 10 percent had 1.4 percent and had incomes less than 1/12th of those of the richest 10 percent. By some accounts the disparity now is greater than it was before the Communists took power in 1949.

Income disparity is also geographical phenomena, with people in the richest parts of the country earning 10 times more than those in the poorest parts. Much of the Chinas wealth is concentrated in the coastal cities in eastern and southern China. The interior for the most part remains poor. Frustration over the widening income gap has resulted in bitterness among have nots and evoked nostalgia for the old days. A 48-year-old truck driver told the Los Angeles Times, Many people our age are psychologically unbalanced. Whats so great about letting a few get rich while so many more are dragged into poverty? I really miss the Mao period when things were equal. Sociologists call the phenomena reactive deprivation and say the problem is especially true when its personalpeople see a neighbor get rich even though they used be classmates and are just the same. Chinese patience is perhaps most pronounced when it comes to money. A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center before the 2008 Olympics found that 89 percent of the Chinese interviewed said they were concerned about the gap between rich and poor. Beijing is attempting to tackle the income disparity problem by implementing a more progressive tax system and cutting taxes for the poor while closing loopholes and preventing cheating by the rich. In a New Year speech in 2007, Hu said he was committed ending the gap between the rich and poor. By then there had been a shift in focus in policy with the government saying that it was just as responsible for improving the quality of life as it was for delivering economic growth. In December 2007, the Chinese government announced that it would subsidize the purchase of appliances by farmers to help narrow the income gap. Below a brief list of associations. Note that colours are in motion as well. A colour can consist of a main, dominating colour and a shade of another colour. Such a mixture of a colours can lead to a combined interpretation. BLACK - colour for young boys (who will continue the family/ ancestor lineages), delving into the depth of something, flowing, dormant, conserving, immortality, stability, knowledge, trust, adaptability, spontaneity, power, career, will, emotional protection, calmness vs lack of will Five Elements: Water; Direction: North; Season: winter; Condition: cold; Energy: conserving; Phase: full Yin; Development: dormant; Planet: Mercury; Animal: shelled, especially tortoise; Celestial creature: (Black) Tortoise; Fruit: chestnut; Grain: millet; Action: listening; Sense: hearing; Sound: moaning; Smell: rotten; Taste: salty; Trigram bagua: Kan BLUE - conserving, healing, relaxation, exploration, trust, calmness, immortality BROWN - industrious, grounded GOLD - completeness, wealth, metal, God consciousness

GREEN - growing, generating, sprouting, striving, refreshing, balancing, calming, healing, self assurance, foundation, benevolence, health, harmony, sensitivity, patience vs anger Five Elements: Wood; Direction: East; Season: spring; Condition: windy, rain; Energy: generative; Phase: new Yang; Development: generative; Planet: Jupiter; Animal: scaled, especially dragon; Heavenly creature: (Azure, Green) Dragon; Fruit: plum; Grain: wheat; Action: countenance; Sense: sight; Sound: calling; Smell: rancid; Taste: sour; Trigram bagua: Xun/Sun, Zhen GREY - dull, indefinite, though also silver, hence income ORANGE - indicating change, adaptability, spontaneity, strengthens concentration PINK - love PURPLE - spiritual awareness, physical and mental healing, hence strength, abundance, red purple brings luck and fame. Purple (; z) refers to the North Star (Polaris), which in ancient China was called the Ziwei Star, the North Star was in traditional Chinese astrology the abode of the Celestial Emperor. (see also: Purple Forbidden City) RED - traditional bridal colour, expansive, blooming, dynamic, enthusiastic, reaching upwards, good luck, celebration, happiness, joy, vitality, long life; red purple brings luck and fame, money, recognition, propriety, creativity, joy vs. over excitation Five Elements: Fire; Direction: South; Season: summer; Condition: heat; Energy: expansive; Phase: full Yang; Development: blooming; Planet: Mars; Animal: winged, especially poultry; Heavenly creature: Vermilion Bird, (Red) pheasant; Fruit: apricot; Grain: beans; Action: sight; Sense: touch; Sound: laughing; Smell: scorched; Taste: bitter; Trigram bagua: Li SILVER - metal (income, wealth), trustworthiness, romance WHITE - mourning, contracting, withering, righteousness, pureness, confidence, intuition, strength, organisation, death, ancestral spirits, ghosts, courage vs sadness Five Elements: Metal; Direction: West; Season: autumn; Condition: dry, clear; Energy: contracting; Phase: new Yin; Development: withering; Planet: Venus; Animal: furred, especially tiger; Celestial creature: (White) Tiger; Fruit: peach; Grain: hemp; Action: speech; Sense: smell; Sound: lamenting; Smell: putrid; Taste: pungent, spicy, acrid; Trigram bagua: Qian/ Quian, Dui YELLOW- nourishing, supporting, stabilizing, ripening, grounded, solid, reliability, sunbeam, warmth, clarity, royalty, good faith, empathy vs anxiety Five Elements: Earth; Direction: Centre, zenith; Season: change of season (every 3rd month); Condition: damp, wind; Energy: stabilising; Phase: Yin- Yang balance; Development: ripening; Planet: Saturn;

Animals: naked (mankind); Celestial creature: (Yellow) Dragon, (Yellow) Qilin, Phoenix; Fruit: dates; Grain: rice; Action: thought; Sense: touch, taste; Sound: singing; Smell: fragrant; Taste: sweet, aromatic. Trigram bagua: Kun, Gen Throughout the years, and even today, colours are very important to the existence of the Chinese people. Today: 1. Yellow is still reserved for royalty. Clothing and objects that are yellow in colour still resemble a higher social status. Although each dynasty designated each official rank with their own colour, yellow is reserved or the emperor himself. The colour yellow and its shades are also the main colour of Buddhism; thus it represents being free from worldly cares. 2. Red is still used for happiness and joy. In fact, after the Ming Dynasty, only the Emperor's close relatives could have homes with red walls and yellow roof tiles. Peasants could only live in homes made with blue bricks and roof tiles. Today though, most houses are made of black tiles and white walls. 3. Blue-green is still a symbol of spring when everything is filled with vigour and vitality. Therefore, someone that is hoping for longevity and harmony will decorate with blue-green colours. 4. White is a symbol of the unknown and purity. The colour white is used during the time of mourning, death, and during ghost festivals. Therefore Chinese people will wear white during a funeral or while summoning ghosts. 5. Black is used as the symbol of winter and the westerly skies which beholds the heavens. It is used for times of the unknown and for the winter months.