The Differences Between China and Occident

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The Differences Between China and Occident

Postby long_way » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:52 pm

Several very interesting articles on this topic can be found here: ... -occident/

The Culture Difference between China and Occident

Posted by Mysterious China Blogger on Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 1:33

I talked about the difference between China and Occident in previous article. I want to mainly talk about the culture difference between China and Occident today. There are great differences between Chinese culture and Occident culture. I summarize three aspects:

1. Differences of Value Concept and Moral Criteria.

Occidental culture worships individual struggling and personal honor; on the contrary, Chinese culture doesn’t advocate that show off the personal honor, but advocate modesty. Chinese think self-denial is the modest behavior. “Your English is very good,” “No, no, my English is very poor”; “You’ve done a very good job,” “No, I don’t think so. It’s the result of joint efforts.” Occidental think this modesty of China style not only deny self, but also deny the appreciate ability of laudator.

There are strong self-center consciousness and independent consciousness in Occidental culture; Chinese culture advocate dedicate unselfishly. It is a kind of virtue that cares about others voluntarily in China. So Chinese are warmhearted.

Occidental culture advocates pioneering spirit. Do the remarkable enterprise that forefathers have not done; Traditional Chinese culture advocates golden mean. Chinese are not good at taking risks, willing to maintain the current situation, keep harmonious.

Occidental culture attaches great importance to individual freedom, unwilling to be restricted; Chinese culture emphasizes collectivism and harmonious cooperation, advocate shares together happy and sad.

2. Differences of Social Relation.

There are strong equality concepts in Occidental culture. No matter is rich or poor, everybody is equality; Chinese culture has traditional class Concept. Father has absolute authority as opposed to son, the teacher has absolute authority as opposed to students. The family background still plays an important role in people’s growth.

The structure of American family is simple: Parents and teenage child make up nucleus family together. Once children get married, must move out, the independence is necessary. Thus train independent life’s ability, but drifted apart the relation between the relatives at the same time; The family structure of Chinese style is more complicated. The traditional happy family is Four-Generations-under-the-Same-Roof e-Roof. In such a family, the old man looks after children, descendants support the old man after growing up, interdepend between kinsfolk, help each other, make the kindred relation close. However, this kind of life style is unfavorable to the independent ability to train the young man.

3. Differences of Social Etiquettes.

Chinese like asking the other side name, age, work site or income, etc. when meet. Occidental think that infringes others’ personal secrets. Chinese always like greeting: “Have you had your meal?” “Where are you going?” when meet friends on the way. This is courteous greeting in China. But the occidental will think you want to invite him to dinner or meddle in his private affair. Occidental are used to greet: “Hi!” “Nice day, isn’t it?”

Occidental will open at once in front of guest and praise in succession while receiving the gift. Chinese often put aside while receiving the gift and without look. Chinese think it is impolite behavior that open gift in front of guest.

Chinese is solicitous and hospitable, will pour wine into cup of guest constantly and advise guests to eat more dishes. Thus make occidental feel difficult to deal with. This is Chinese habit. The habit of occidental is: Help yourself, Please!

Therefore, it is extremely important that know culture difference between China and Occident. Thus can clear up the misunderstanding, will help to communicate. Fully understand the other side and respect the custom of the other side in communication, reach the best communication result.

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The Difference Between China and Occident

Posted by Mysterious China Blogger on Saturday, October 4, 2008, 3:32

Everybody has to admit that there are some differences between China and Occident in some aspects such as values, moral standard, social relationships, social etiquette and custom… These differences cause misunderstanding each other. I will analyze the differences between China and Occident from today for dispel these misunderstanding and enable everybody better understanding China. I will write out some articles successively in the Mysterious China Blog. Hope that is able to help everybody better understands China and Chinese culture.

Occident culture advocates personal honor, self-centre, innovation spirit and individuality freedom; but Chinese culture advocates humility, dedication unselfishly, moderation and cooperating. Occidental equality consciousness is stronger, structure of the family is simple, parents and children make up the nuclear family; but Chinese grade conception is relatively strong, family’s structure is relatively complicated, traditional families mostly are that four generations live together.

This kind of phenomenon that because of culture obstacle lead to misunderstand even injure the other side often takes place in the communicating of Chinese and Occidental. Well-meaning talk can make the other side to be very embarrassed sometimes; it is absurd or vulgar that polite bearing will be misunderstood. So, I think it is very essential and important that research the difference between China and Occident.

It is the educated and courteous behavior to care about others’ health in China. But you can’t be according to the Chinese traditional way to care about the health of Occidental. Such as one Chinese student will says “You should go to see a doctor!” when her American teacher fall ill. But this sentence makes this teacher very unhappy. Because Americans think: If give somebody advice on a minor matter, that is obviously suspicion to his ability, thereby injure his self-esteem.

Chinese’s hospitality on the dining table is often misunderstood for the discourteousness behavior by Occidental. Because Occidental thinks: guests eat how much is decided by oneself, Do not need hosts to add the wine or dish for him; and the excessive diet is the thing of discourteousness.

Chinese will often say “Ah, brother, you are fat recently!” when meet friend on the way or say with the concerned tone: “Brother, you are thin, you should care the health of your own!” But if you say “you are fat” or “you are so thin” to Occidental, he will feel embarrassed and difficult to answer even relatively familiar.

It is easy to find out from the above-mentioned examples: There are differences between China and Occident and the cultural obstacle will really influence social intercourse. It is very essential to study the difference of different culture. I will analyze various differences between China and Occident in the article from today. Please continue paying attention to the Mysterious China Blog.

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Etiquette Difference between China and Occident

Posted by Mysterious China Blogger on Monday, October 27, 2008, 3:20

Because of the difference of culture, there are some differences between Chinese etiquette and occidental etiquette. There are seven aspects.

1. Treat praise

The attitudes which Chinese and occidental treat praise are different. Though the happy very much, Chinese always give courteous denying to others’ praise, in order to show modesty: “Still not all right!”, “So-so!”, “Can’t compare with you!”, “I’m flattered!”… Occidental attitude towards praise may be “very joy” and say “Thank you!”

2. Entertain guests

Chinese are always used to think about from others angle when Chinese get along with people. This shows on receiving guests or as a guest. Guests always try not to trouble the host; therefore guests always decline the host’s hospitality courteously. For example, the host asks what guests want to drink, guests will generally say “I am not thirsty” Or “Don’t bother”; the host pours the wine for guests, guests always decline, say “It is enough, it is enough!” But in fact, guests may want to drink, just stand on ceremony. So, the competent host will not ask directly what guests want, but try to figure out guests’ demand, and offer content actively. Hospitable host always urge the guests to eat dishes and drink wine ceaselessly at dining table. So, the atmosphere of Chinese receiving guests is often very warm: host urges ceaselessly, guests decline ceaselessly.

No matter the host or guest, everybody is very frank when Occidental receives guests. The host will ask the other side directly “What would you like to drink?”; If guests want to drink, will reply “what beverages do you have?” and choose a kind of beverage liked oneself; if guests do not really want to drink, guests will say “Thanks! I do not want to drink.” The host will ask guests whether or not need some more on the dining table, if guests say enough, the host will not try to urge the guests to eat dishes and drink wine.

3. Modesty and self-approval

Chinese deem that the modesty is a kind of virtue. No matter to own ability or achievement, Chinese always like self-effacement. If not so, others may criticize “non-modest” or “arrogant and conceited”. For example, before the Chinese scholar lectures, will usually say: “my knowledge is not deep and the preparation is insufficient too, please everybody give advice or comments” (In fact he is very erudite and the preparation is very adequate); The hospitable host faces the dishes on all over dining-table but says: “have no good dishes, please help yourself” on the banquet; Chinese will usually say modestly:”I am probably difficult to be competent.” when the leadership give an important task.

Occidental does not have modest habit. Occidental think one person want to get others’ recognition, must self-approval at first. So, Occidental always appraises own ability and achievement objectively.

4. Advice and suggestion

No matter Chinese or Occidental, all like proposing some friendly suggestions and advices to relatives and friends, in order to show caring about and cherish. But the way of advice and suggestion are different.

Chinese often propose suggestion and advice to the friend directly and often use some words with order tone. For example, “it is very cold, you should wear more clothes and prevent catch a cold! “, “very slippery on the road, walk carefully!”, “you should pay more attention to your health!”, “you should shave!”, “you should go to work!”…

The words is very mild and euphemistic when occidental propose and advise to relatives and friends, for example, “it is very cold today, if I were you, I will add a sweater”, “you had better shave the beard.” Even if is the most intimate person, will not use order tone. Otherwise, will be thought not to respect one’s own independent personality.

5. Personal right of privacy

Occidental pays attention to the personal right of privacy very much. Everybody will seldom involve the other side’s “private problem” in ordinary talking. Chinese do not pay attention to the individual privacy. Especially between relatives and friends, everybody likes sharing the private life of the other side together. In addition, the elder can inquire the private life of the younger at will, in order to reveal care about the younger.

6. Time concept

Occidental time concept are very strong, schedule is very compact. A lot of Chinese concept of time isn’t too strong. It is quite general that unexpected visit and invite temporarily.

7. Send gifts

Occidental does not pay attention to sending gifts, seldom regard the value of the gift as important. But great majority Chinese relatively regards the value of the gift as important. The value of the gift represents the emotion of the person who sends gifts.

In addition, there are obvious differences between China and Occident in way of sending gifts too. Occidental generally opens the gift in front of guest and expresses the appreciation to the gift. If does not open the gift face to face, the guest will think the host don’t like the gift. But Chinese don’t open the gift in front of guest. The purpose is for showing that regard mutual friendly feelings as important, but not material benefit.
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