Home Culture & Etiquette General Culture & Etiquette How to Understand the Chinese People

How to Understand the Chinese People

(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Written by Daryl J.   

How to Understand the Chinese People

Understanding the Chinese People goes deeper than just learning the words that they speak. They have a heritage that spans from thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ up until today. There life, though influenced by the Western world to some degree, is uniquely their own. In order to understand the Chinese you will have to understand not only that language, but their rich culture that is embedded in their history.

Probably the most influential person in Chinese history is 孔 夫子 (Kong fuzi), better known in the Western world as Confucius. This man who lived between 551-471 BCE (Before Common Era), was among other things a philosopher who developed a code of conduct for the patriarchal society of China at that time. This code of conduct began with the emperor, who was seen as the father of the country and filtered its way down to the single family structure. With the Analects (collection of teachings by Confucius), the writings by 孟子(Mencius) and 荀子 (Xun Zi) who expounded on the teachings of 孔夫子 (Confucius), along with other writing constituted what is now called Confucianism. Confucianism dominated Chinese thought in one form or another up until today.

Another great influence of the Chinese people throughout the history of Chinese culture was religion. One of the oldest religions still in existence today, is Taoism. Even Taoism was built on ancient beliefs that predated it. Such beliefs in the relationship between yin-yang, the influence of the five elements and feng shui. There are other beliefs that have found its way in Taoism such as ancestor worship. Taoism which in essence is a nature philosophy/religion concerns itself with the relationship between man and the world (as in universe) and man and nature. Taoism has been influential in East Asia for over 2,000 years and in the West for over 200 years. Even when the dominate religion of today, Buddhism came to China, it had to incorporate Taoism into its beliefs in order to be accepted by the Chinese people.

History in itself, has a large effect on the Chinese people. Born of many days as starving country, the greeting has become not “Hello” or “How are you”, but rather “Have you eaten yet”

That greeting persist even today and changes only slowly as the Chinese people deal more and more with the Western people.

Politics must also be taken into consideration. China has a long history of dynastic rule. In a short period of time during the 20th century China has went from a Imperial country, to warlord dominated republic, to a communistic country in less than 60 years. That is a lot of change in a short period of time. Even today, whereas most of the people don't consider themselves communist, the political system of the country remain so.

It is easy to see how history,religion, politics and moral ethics has played and still play a major part of the life of the people of China. And, to best understand the people of China, you would have to understand those for things. Not only will you begin to be better enlightened by the Chinese people, but you will also be greatly appreciated by them for taking the time to try to understand them.

Comments (1)add comment

roanna said:

Thank you for sharing valuable infomration on how to understand Chinese people!
The ierarchical aproach to everithing is very important in ther culture and they always shaw and expect you to show a lot of respect.
December 26, 2009
Votes: +0

Write comment
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.