The Traditional Roots of Parental Pressure and Academic Success in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

Chinese state media once called China a "world superpower in stress". According to a 2012 survey, 75% of Chinese workers are stressed, compared with 47% in the United States, 42% in the United Kingdom, and 58% in Germany. Over 70% percent of Chinese white-collar workers suffer from overwork, which poses a serious risk to their health. … Continue reading The Traditional Roots of Parental Pressure and Academic Success in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

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Directness, Hierarchy and Social Roles in Chinese Culture

Social hierarchies, "face" and etiquette have traditionally played an important role in Chinese society. These elements of social interaction are reflected in the way people talk and act. In particular, it has been argued that Chinese people "are much more vague and indirect than Westerners". One may find such views even in authoritative news outlets. … Continue reading Directness, Hierarchy and Social Roles in Chinese Culture

Face, Filial Piety and Work Motivation in Chinese Culture

"Sometimes, kids feel that studying is hard and stressful because parents are over anxious and expect too much," writes the Student Health Service website of Hong Kong's Department of Health. "If parents’ expectations go far beyond their kids’ ability, the kids would be discouraged and lose confidence as they are not able to meet their … Continue reading Face, Filial Piety and Work Motivation in Chinese Culture

The Concept of Face in Chinese Culture and the Difference Between Mianzi and Lian

Lu Xun, one of China's most influential writers of the 20th century, once described "face" as the "guiding principle of the Chinese mind" (中國精神的綱領). "Face" (面子), he remarked, is "a word we [Chinese] hear often and understand intuitively, so we don't think too much about it." But Westerners seemed to struggle to grasp it. "Recently … Continue reading The Concept of Face in Chinese Culture and the Difference Between Mianzi and Lian

“The House of Lim” and the Myth of the Harmonious Chinese Family

In 1959 the renowned American anthropologist and sinologist Arthur P. Wolf went on a study trip to Taiwan with his wife Margery. They spent two years in the house of the Lims, a "joint" family who lived in a small village in the countryside. Living side by side for a long period of time with … Continue reading “The House of Lim” and the Myth of the Harmonious Chinese Family

Western Values – Asian Values: A Chinese Revolutionary’s View on Western and Chinese Family

One of the major differences between China and the West is the importance which the family - with its hierarchical structure and its complex web of social roles, regulations, duties, and moral values - has in Chinese society (see: Filial Piety in Chinese Culture). Despite major social and economic changes, the Chinese-speaking world has retained … Continue reading Western Values – Asian Values: A Chinese Revolutionary’s View on Western and Chinese Family

Law In Post-Mao China: Confucianism, Legalism, Imperial Traditions

In the previous post we have described the similarities and differences between Maoism and Legalism, and in particular we have shown the parallels between Maoist and Legalist doctrines regarding the establishment of an autocratic, centralised state. Moreover, we have demonstrated that Mao Zedong rejected Confucian values, which he viewed as "reactionary". In this post we … Continue reading Law In Post-Mao China: Confucianism, Legalism, Imperial Traditions

China’s Legal System And The “Ten Abominations”

Before the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, China's legal system differed from that of liberal Western states in three major aspects: First, the apex of the entire legal system was the absolute monarch; it was the emperor who issued and abolished laws, and the most serious crimes of the legal code were those … Continue reading China’s Legal System And The “Ten Abominations”

Memorial Arches, State, and Family Virtues in Imperial China

In imperial China the family was the nucleus of social order and state ideology. Unlike its Western counterpart, the Chinese family was not simply a social unit; it was an institution that over the centuries gave rise to an ideology that permeated the lives of every individual and shaped the structure of the state.    … Continue reading Memorial Arches, State, and Family Virtues in Imperial China

Filial Piety (孝) in Chinese Culture

In order to understand Chinese culture and society it is fundamental to understand the Chinese family. The family in China was not only a social unit, but it represented a whole codified ideology that pervaded the state and the society for thousands of years. Many of the differences between Chinese and Western thinking are comprehensible … Continue reading Filial Piety (孝) in Chinese Culture