RJ Bast Jay Freyer Al Gomez Lynn Hovartin Sean Lee

China Cultural Environment

Brief History

Brief History Con’t
Mao Tse-Tong

Sun Yat-Sen

Chang Kai-Shek

Last Emperor Pu Yi

Population Distribution

China has population of 1.3 billion, but it’s not evenly distributed. Some areas are still uninhabited. Most population is concentrated n the darker brown areas where original civilization started 4,000 – 5,000 years ago.

Ethnic Groups
China is a united multi-ethnic nation of 56 ethnic groups: Han – 91.6 % 18 ethnic minorities with more than one million in population: Zhuang (16.2 million) Miao (Hmong) Tujia Bouyei Korean Li Etc. Manchu Uygur Mongolian Dong Bai Kazak Hui Yi Tibetan Yao Hani

Thousands of dialects spoken in China. People from different townships/cities often can not communicate in their own dialects. Main Dialects Where spoken Cantonese (Yue) Mainly Guangdong, Macau, Hong Kong. Fujian (Hakka) Fujian and Guangxi. Hsiang (Hunan) South central region, in Hunan Gan Shanxi and south-west Hebei. Mandarin Northern, central and western regions. North Mandarin, as found in Beijing, is the basis of the modern standard language. Northern Min North-west Fujian. Southern Min In parts of Zhejiang, Fujian, Hainan Island and Taiwan. Wu Shanghai, Anhui, Zhejians and Jiangsu.

Languages, Con’t
In China historically there have been many forms of writing language forms. But most of which only exist in history books now, except “Standard Chinese” characters, which is used national wide in writing communications. Chinese characters are logographic and ideographic. A complete Chinese dictionary contains nearly 50,000 characters, but most of these are highly specialized. In the modern language, basic literacy requires knowledge of some 2.000 characters.

Philosophy/Religions and Values
Chinese behaviors and values are greatly influenced by the philosophies and religions of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, and Marxism since 1949: Taoism (600 BC) It promotes the belief that one will gain power and strength if behave in harmony with the nature of universe. One’s wrong doing will always result in bad luck or punishment. Proper behaviors and self restrain can give one great inner strength and even prolonged life. Confucianism (551 – 479 BC) It is the philosophy guiding Chinese in governing and behaviors. It emphasizes the importance of a family and the society order. Children must respect and obligate to their parents. Student obeys to the teacher. Junior follows the senior. Servants serve the rulers. Education/knowledge decide one’s status in society. Even today, the Chinese society still reassembles the spirit of Confucianism.

Philosophy/Religions and Values Con’t
Buddhism It was introduced into China from India in 520’s. It gained acceptance in China due to concept of rebirth and the reinforcement of the Taoism and Confucianism. It confirms the fact that life is suffering. Craving is the cause of all suffering. No one but yourself can save you from suffering. To attain happiness you have to overcome craving or endless wanting, hatreds and complaining. Marxism It was first introduced into China in 1920’s. It is the value principle with which the ruling party has tried to “educate” the public since the founding of PRC. Marxism's emphasis on equality, benevolence, and shared wealth and the MarxistLeninist orientation toward a centralized state and economy are to large degree compatible with traditional Chinese culture. Marxism is still taught in education systems today in China, though with few true followers among young generations.

Changing Society and Values
China is now a “socialist country with Chinese characters (capitalistic)”. Social norms are changing rapidly and many conflicting values coexist. Generation gap is significant. Spiritual Vacuum: “main stream” (Marxism) vs deep rooted traditional philosophies. Increasing exposure to Christianity. No more “iron rice bowl”: having a job is no longer one’s “right”. Majority of SOE’s have been privatized, except sensitive industries (energy, defense, etc.) and government. Collectivism vs individualism: China is still a very homogeneous society (taste, trend, values). But it’s becoming more diversified. Individualism appeals more to younger generations. Materialism: money worship is becoming more evident. Survey shows ordinary Chinese top concerns are jobs, housing, enforceable legal system, business regulations, better education in rural areas, economic equality.

Chinese Business Culture
Doing business in China is not as complicated as experts claim, especially in bigger cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, etc. There still are some aspects of doing business in China one should understand to be more effective.


– being punctual is always a good practice just as in the U.S., but don’t take it as an insult if you Chinese counterpart is late. Avoid making too frequent changes. Handshake – traditionally Chinese handshake is more gentle (this is changing). Soft or firm handshakes do not carry the same importance in China than in the U.S. Business card – always hand out business card, in formal meetings use two hands to show respect, the Chinese would typically like to know who they’re talking to and what should be talked about.

Chinese Business Culture, Con’t

Greeting – among Chinese, business titles are always used, e.g. Chief Wang, General (manager) Liu, Chairman Mao. Addressing deputies by skipping “deputy” or “assistant”, e.g. “ assistant director” is addressed as “director”. However addressing one as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” in English is totally acceptable. Always address the most senior person first.

Language/Conversation – during conversations Chinese often do not always look at you in the eyes while talking or listening to be polite, especially in the first meetings. As relationship getting closer this changes. Chitchat is important. Topics about one’s family, spouse/children, hobbits are always welcome and normal. •Dinner/Banquet – Chinese host is “obligated” to dine/wine visitors. These are often more meaningful functions to get business done than formal negotiation and meetings, or to build your Guanxi or close working relationship with your hosts.


Chinese Art
Chinese paintings
Ink (from natural materials) and brush are used. The techniques are quite similar to water color. Traditional themes are sceneries (mountains/rivers), animals, people portraits, etc.

Asian cultures)

Chinese Art, Con’t
Chinese Calligraphy
Writing with ink on rice paper is a form of art. Traditionally one’s level of education can be seen from the hand writing. The thousands of calligraphy styles can be categorized into six major scripts: Oracle, Zhuan, Li, Kai, Xing, Cao. Calligraphy is also thought to be a good tool to improve inner strength and patience.

Asian cultures)

Chinese Operas

Chinese Art, Con’t

Traditional Chinese drama, often called "Chinese opera," grew out of the zaju (variety plays) of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) and continues to exist in 368 different forms, the best known of which is Beijing Opera, Yue Opera, Yu Opera, Huangmei Opera, etc.

Folk Music
Besides modern music, which is quite similar to western music, traditional music is still pretty much of a part of Chinese entertainment. The main categories are string (Huqins, Pipa), wind (flutes), brass (trombone) and percussion instruments (drum,Gong).

Chinese Holidays and Calendar
The official and business calendar is the same as used in the west. But traditional Chinese holidays and major social events (wedding, funeral,opening of business,etc.) follow traditional calendar (in red) New Year's Day (Jan 1st ) Chinese New Year (Jan 1st) The Lantern Festival (Jan 15th, end of NY Celebration) Women’s Day (Mar 8th ) Qingming (Apr 15th ,memorial day) May Labor Day (May 1st) Dragon Boat Festival (May 5th) Children's Day (Jun 1st ) Festival of 7-7 (Jul 7th , Valentines Day) Moon Festival (Aug 15th , Family reunion) Double Nineth (Sep 9th , Senior’s Day) National Day (Oct 1st , Founding of PRC) Ethnic Gourp Holidays

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Things good to know
• American people are considered friendly, generous, humorous, fair and honest by Chinese. Chinese typically go out their ways to please guest. Do not afraid taboos, they generally do not apply to guests. “Guanxi” (connection or relationship) is important aspect in Chinese interaction. People in this invisible net work is obligated to extend helping hand when needed and returned favor is also expected. When Chinese nod/smile, they may simply mean they know what you’re saying, rather than agreeing. Saying “No” can be considered rude. “We’ll consider” or “we’ll look into it” may mean “no”. “Soon” is often used to mean “when we have time …… but not now”.

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Things good to know, con’t
•Seating in a banquet is important in certain part of China, follow your host’s arrangement. •You don’t have to have eat “interesting” dish served by your host, but you can accept it and “play” with it. •Blowing nose at dinner table is considered bad manner. •Cover your month with the free hand while picking tooth. •Tipping is not necessary (considered insult in rural areas) in China, except in big hotels. $1 -$2 for bellboy is appropriate. •“6” (free of troubles), “8” (prosperous) and “9” (long lasting) are lucky numbers, while “4” (death) is bad number.

Things good to know, con’t
• There are not as many gays in China than it seems. Girls or even soldiers often hold hands walking on the street to express close friendship. Privacy is an imported word. Living in China, a closely netted society, your business is everyone’s business. Don’t be offended if Chinese ask your (lady) age or income, etc. These are common topics in chitchat among Chinese. Topics will delight the Chinese: 08 Olympic Game, manned satellite, the “ 4 greatest inventions” (paper, printing, compass, gunpowder), economic progresses, etc. Avoid sharing your opinions on political issues such as Taiwan, Tibet, human rights, Iraqi invasion, etc. Some Chinese may have strong view opposite to yours.


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