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Texas ISD School Guide
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Travel, Teach, Live in China

Chinese Vs. Western Culture
By:Charles Lawrence

The Chinese culture differs greatly from its Western counterparts. Everything from personal relationships to family obligation differs between the two cultures. China is the most populated nation in the world, with about 1.34 billion people, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. Understanding and embracing Chinese culture is essential as China's population and industry continue to expand.

The conception of self in the Chinese culture differs from the Western view of the self. Chinese culture calls for a more group-orientated view, according to the American International Education Foundation (AIEF). In other words, the Chinese think of themselves in a collective manner. Americans, however, tend to promote individuality and autonomy. While self-promotion (bragging) is acceptable and encouraged in the United States, it is generally frowned upon in Chinese culture.

Social Interaction
Social interactions in Chinese society are more hierarchical-based than their Western counterparts. The Chinese revere their elders and learn to adapt to a societal role within the social hierarchy, the AIEF reports. In the U.S., social interactions are often more casual and easy-going. Age does not carry as much weight in the West, while the Chinese look up to and exalt older members.

Friendship also differs from Chinese to Western culture. American culture, for example, calls for a large group of friends, while the Chinese deem it more favorable to have a small, tight-knit group of friends, the AIEF says. Attempting to eschew long-term personal obligations is popular in Western culture, while the concept of personal aid is looked upon more favorably in the Chinese culture. The Chinese value long-term friendship, but their Western counterparts are more liable to go through many friends throughout their lives.

Although the Communist Party of China attempted to banish religion, it failed. Religion still flourishes in China, according to the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding, including Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Although the trio are more of a way of life than separate religions, their effects can be seen throughout Chinese society. Confucianism calls for ordered social networking, often paired with the Taoist and Buddhist belief of going with the flow and understanding the world on a personal level. While these religions are present in Western culture, they exist on a much smaller scale in nations whose primary religion is Christianity.

The People's Republic of China is ruled by a communist government, the idealistic antithesis to Western democracy. The communist government calls for homogeneity for its people, while democracy promotes freedom and individual empowerment. The concept of unrestricted free speech does not exist in China's communist government, as it will censor or ban anything it deems undesirable, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. For example, the Chinese government found content from the Internet search engine Google to be at odds with its beliefs, so it attempted a nationwide ban of the website.

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