Getting to Grips With China’s Cultural Contradictions

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Getting to Grips With China’s Cultural Contradictions

China, with its rapidly expanding economy, consequently has become one of the most powerful countries on the geopolitical map of our world. Therefore, understanding the complex Chinese culture should become the main focus of interest in the West.

In the 20th century, the Chinese government strives to create an image of China as a modern country with a culture steeped in rich history and heritage. Nevertheless underneath this facade there is a different side of Chinese culture and its people which has been passed down over thousands of years. The Chinese are bound by a fixed social order, an idea that stretches back all the way to the time of Confucius.

Chinese society is very orderly. For example, within a company, those with a low rank are told what to do and there is no speaking up to those in charge. Presenting your opinion, especially if it is negative, is unacceptable. People understand that it is better to ignore a problem and remain passive than openly challenge the authorities. As a result, this way of thinking has created a delay in social evolution.

Also the Chinese have a different view on the conception of themselves. The Chinese focus more on the group collective than on individualism. They place value on group cooperation and individual modesty, while Western societies value “freedom” without externally imposed constraints as well as individualism.

So, if you plan to visit China either for work or extended travel, acquaint yourself with these cultural differences and know where they originate. For first time business travelers it would be wise to seek the help of a professional translation and interpretation company that will assist them during their visit.

China, with its rich history, regards itself proudly and does not like to ask other countries for financial aid, especially countries from the West. Though despite this national pride Chinese people always warmly welcome foreigners.

Unfortunately, Westerners who have lived in China for many years, and who are able to speak Mandarin flawlessly do not feel a part of China. According to them, full integration with Chinese society is impossible; therefore, they feel like outsiders. Even though the newer generations are much more open, China’s past is still strongly embedded in older generations, and this invisible wall blocks foreigners from integrating. You could say that China holds two faces: the one that is held up for visitors, and the true face that is only shared among those who live there. Though having said this, China and the Chinese have so much to offer, and you should not be scared away if you have had a negative experience with culture shock.

The best way to deal with all the contradictions presented by China is to keep your mind open, take things lightly, and observe the actions of everyday people. If you are traveling to China to work it is recommended that you use a reliable Chinese translation and interpretation company. This will help you to reduce the risk of losing money when dealing with large transactions, such as renting a flat or when signing a contract. Many foreigners have signed away 3-4 times the value of a rented apartment because they couldn’t read the fine print. Finding translation companies online is your best bet because you simply need to fax or email them your document, and you’ll receive the translated copy very quickly. They offer a wide range of services that have helped to ease my transition from arriving in China knowing nothing to finding my feet in this beautiful and diverse country.

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