Chinese Culture vs Western Culture
Between the Chinese culture and Western culture, we can identify a number of differences. This is because it allows us to engage in an interesting comparison. East is east, and West is west; never the twain shall meet. This one line pretty much sums up this never ending debate on the differences between the Chinese culture and the Western culture. Many Westerners, when they visit China for the first time are in fact shocked to see the customs and traditions in China. But the same holds true for the people of China who goes to Western countries for the first time. Every culture has its values, morals, customs and traditions and they should be respected as such and not to be ridiculed just because another culture has different values and beliefs. What is to be remembered is the fact that every culture is unique, and there is no definitive culture that can be said as being the best or worst. Through this article let us examine some of the differences between the two cultures.
What is Chinese Culture?
Every culture is developed for thousands of years. At least this holds true for the Chinese culture. It is 5000 years old. In all aspects of life, be it religion, music, art or medicine, Chinese are totally different from Westerners; in fact, poles apart, and trying to compare these two cultures is like comparing day with night. One should learn to appreciate the differences between the Chinese and Western culture to be better able to understand these differences. As far as religion is concerned, Chinese beliefs are rooted in Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism, all of which believe in equality of all creatures. It is through learning that man can become better. When paying attention to the concept of family, it is the backbone of Chinese culture and members live together or close by. People help and support each other and which is why there is greater bonding between family members. The Chinese system of education is rigid, and it suppresses creativity according to western analysts. But Chinese place great importance on education and this is why China has today become the largest economy in the world, overtaking the US. Chinese have a holistic approach to life and believe in healthy eating. Chinese culture places more importance on collective gains. Chinese are warm and friendly people that go out of their way to help strangers. Chinese believe that it is through inner peace that real bliss and happiness can be achieved.
What is Western Culture?
Now let us move on to the Western Culture. In comparison to the Chinese Culture, Western culture is only 2000 years old. Western religions believe in the superiority of human beings over other animals and here too people can become better if they control their sinful actions and thoughts. Family is mostly nuclear in nature in the west and people are not generally concerned with uncles and aunts. Young adults in the West make lots of friends that change with time and they see their family members only on festivals and holidays. Though education is equally important in the US, here emphasis is placed upon the liking of kids and the interest they show in particular subjects that are more important. When speaking of food, taste matters a lot to westerners, and they keep eating and cooking art separate from the general approach to life. Western culture places emphasis on individual achievements and encourages entrepreneurship. Even when it comes to philosophy, Chinese and western countries are totally different in their approach. Westerners believe in hard work and dedication to achieve personal goals and happiness. Westerners equate happiness with material achievements whereas it is not so in China. There are vast differences in cooking, eating habits, system of medicine, traditions and customs, greeting, meeting and showing love and affection in Chinese and Western cultures that reflect the values and belief systems of the two cultures. If one has to sum up differences between China and the west, it has to be the difference in emphasis between individualism and collectivism.
What is the Difference Between Chinese Culture and Western Culture?
- Chinese believe in collective gains while West believes in individual gains; in short, the difference between the Chinese culture and the Western culture sums up to the difference between individualism and collectivism.
- West searches happiness in material gains while Chinese find it in inner peace.
- Chinese place great importance on families and relationships whereas westerns place more importance to advancement and achievements.
- Freedom of expression is fundamental to western culture whereas Chinese place many restrictions on this fundamental right.
1. Chinese Culture and Movie Center Taipei3 by Peter Bronski (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Perigueux Cathedrale Saint Front”. [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons