Values, Theories, and Concepts in Chinese Culture
China has one of the oldest cultures recognized internationally, dating back to over a thousand years ago. Every nation is identified with its culture and traditions, and China has been conspicuous in maintaining its culture and preventing it from the influence of the outside world. China has a rich culture in different aspects, ranging from pottery and sculpture, art and science, painting, and printing. Some elements that strongly influence the Chinese tradition include language, philosophy, politics, and literature. Some of China’s cultural practices include food, ethnic groups, religion, art, calligraphy, and family. The western world does not recognize the Chinese culture and civilizations as the traditions have been influenced by the outside world and have dropped their cultures and adopted modernization. Culture plays an essential role for individuals and the nation at large.
Role and Importance of Chinese Culture in the Society
Any culture is essential in playing a different role in defining characteristics of the individual’s life. These characteristics involve how people treat family and the elderly, conduct their business, and handle various responsibilities handed to them. Most importantly, the Chinese culture teaches its individuals to live without violating the laws governing them and strive for harmony. This enables individuals to balance the harmony taught to them in various aspects of socialization they encounter daily, ranging from family and business to society. Harmonization of the Chinese has caused a revolution in their business sector to an extent where there are plenty of prosperous Chinatowns globally. Cultural values are taught to children at a young age and educate them on how to treat the elderly and show mutual respect to their agemates.
Chinese culture plays a vital role in the development, mastering, and inculcation of skills in society. Such skills include art, where one can express their ideas through drawing, music, and martial arts. Culture contributes economically to the community by creating industries that cater to the needs of the ever-changing technological era. China is known to be the most advanced country globally, with high and costly technological advancements in construction and other sectors. Lastly, culture plays a significant role in society by preserving and transferring knowledge worldwide. China has been known to uphold cultural aspects where they have recorded their past and stored them in the museums, and created historic sites and monuments, among others.
Chinese scholars in the recent past have gained interest in learning, interpreting, and understanding other doctrines. They have progressed in translating other literary works into the Chinese language by inculcating mainstream theories and making international relations an academic discipline. According to Qian, (2018) Lin Yutang, a Chinese writer, tried to induce Chinese morals and culture to the American readers but did not manage due to the modernization of cultural aspects of the American people.
Confucianism, a concept that was founded by Master Kong, integrated social and ethical philosophical systems into society rather than only concentrating on religion. This concept relied on ancient religious foundations in establishing social values, transcendent ideals, and institutions of traditional Chinese communities. In Confucianism, every individual had defined mutual obligations and roles that they participated in. the idealist argues that this theory has more impact on the eastern hemisphere, which has made the theory of Confucianism gain more attraction from the western world.
China has been viewed as one of the countries with one of the most complicated languages to speak and understand. Various researchers have developed communication theories to eradicate communication barriers and promote business activities between China and other nations. Western communication theories revolve around essentials such as the message, communicator, and receiver. On the other hand, eastern approaches are confined to Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism, creating and preserving harmony. They view communication as not a component of persuasion but rather an element of strengthening human relationships.
Different interactions between native and foreign researchers have led to monumental transformations in the nation’s cultural beliefs. According to Li and Chen (2017), these cross-cultural interactions have led to a series of reforms that have altered some ideas of the people of China while maintaining the core values. Although some reforms brought by cultural relativism and universalism have been inculcated in the education systems, China has taught foreigners some critical concepts in the education systems. These concepts include changing ideas, which does not mean that practices will change, teacher education is vital, and the top-down model never works.
Comparative theory of Chinese society has a strong influence on Chinese anthropology and sociology though it has controversies surrounding it. These controversies are associated with the relationship to modernization. Even with all the rejection, this theory has partially gained attention from various researchers and has been put into practice. This theory has one limitation: it relies more on personalized relationships and cannot be used in modern urban societies (Herrmann-Pillath, 2016). Individualism and collectivism theories compare different aspects of culture and values between the western and eastern hemispheres. Understanding these concepts will help one in understanding cultural differences across diverse countries. China focuses more on collectivism as they believe progress is achieved when people come together with other than division. Individualism is not encouraged in China as they believe ultimate improvement can only be performed as a society, not as an individual.
Researchers have recently put efforts into international relations theory as they believe the Chinese philosophy can enrich other cultures. They think since the culture has ancient roots that make the people of China the way they are today, it can be of great value in enriching others. The international relation theory tries to go back to the ancient traditions, culture, and philosophical practices of china. This theory attempts to reconstruct history using Chinese aspects and integrate them to achieve modernization in a way that can be used in other cultures.
Further researchers have shown that harmony is the core value of Chinese communication. They extended their research to develop further harmony theory that focused on the communication of the Chinese people. It explained that every aspect of Chinese communication aims at arriving at a harmonious conclusion. It continued to explain that one has to develop a set of abilities to help one achieve their goal in this theory. These abilities include intrinsically internalizing, extrinsically accommodating, and strategically exercising power appropriately. When unified communication is not reached, the Chinese people are known to become aggressive and rash quickly. This theory’s main rule is that one cannot do to others what they do not want to be done to them.
In conclusion, cultural diversity should be encouraged to enhance different nations to exchange ideas and learn from others. Chinese culture is rich in knowledge and value from which other countries could learn. Cultural diversifications should be advocated for and endorsed by all nations regardless of their origin. Chinese should also be encouraged to support different cultures as research shows they are reluctant to approve of outside doctrines.
Herrmann-Pillath, C. (2016). Fei Xiaotong’s Comparative theory of Chinese culture: Its relevance for contemporary cross-disciplinary research on Chinese ‘Collectivism’. The Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, 34(1), 25–57. Web.
Li, H., & Chen, J. J. (2017). Evolution of the early childhood curriculum in China: The impact of social and cultural factors on revolution and innovation. Early Child Development and Care, 187(10), 1471-1483.
Qian, S. (2018). Lin Yutang and China’s search for modern rebirth (1st ed.). Palgrave Macmillan.