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Cultural dimensions of China

Sandra Mekler

on 15 October 2012

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Transcript of China

CHINA Confucianism Two different worlds Rural Life China's Cultural Dimensions Confucianism : A religion? 1. The Many Faces of China
Rural-Urban Paradigm
Political Power and Philosophy

2 and 3. Soft Power, China’s Foreign Enculturation, Is China "Exceptional"?
Confucian Institutes
Special Case Study: 2008 Beijing Olympics China in the world "To subdue oneself and return to ritual is moral perfection. If one is able to subdue himself and return to ritual for just one day, the whole world will call him virtuous"
(Lunyu 12:1). Ethical-sociopolitical teaching of Confucius (4th Century BCE)
Official state ideology of China
Humanism at its core: the belief that human beings are teachable, improvable and perfectible.
Adopts the holistic, associative way of thinking of Taoism. Some say Confucianism is not a religion, since there are no Confucian deities and no teachings about the afterlife. Confucian tradition was instrumental in shaping Chinese social relationships and moral thought. "Heaven and the afterlife are beyond human capacity to understand, and one should therefore concentrate instead on doing the right thing in this life." Area: 3,706,000 sq miles (9,598,000 km²)
Slightly smaller than the US ( 3,794,000 sq miles)
More than 1.3 billion people. The world's most populous country. Over 40% of total population lives in cities
Shanghai and Beijing being the most populated. Urban Life 56 Ethnic groups Han Chinese constitute over 90% of the population Ethnicity and Gender Portraying national unity One Child Policy changes Chinese Confucian values.
"Too many men, not enough women" Conflicting ideas Competitiveness and entitlement Controversy at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in Beijiin China’s most educated and talented generation Gender inequality in education Soft Power Coined by Joseph Nye
Refers to the ability of a country to persuade and attract other countries to their viewpoints and policies, rather than coerce them through hard power (military or economic).
A country is more effective at using soft power if they can use their culture to convince other countries to sympathize with their efforts. History Chinese civilization is over one million years old
However, a concrete framework of society began around 2500 BCE.
For thousands of years, China led the world in science and art.
Due to civil unrest, foreign imperialism, military defeats in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and the rise of autocratic socialism in the mid-20th century, millions of Chinese civilians died, the economy stagnated, and culture was supressed.
With the introduction of the Four Modernizations by Deng Xiaoping, China has moved towards a market-oriented economy with output quadrupling from 1978 to 2000, and culture finding new and greater importance in society. China's government is officially a Communist state.
On the provincial levels, limited democractic governance is allowed.
The Chinese economy is best described as a socialist market economy- comprises of government-owned enterprises and an open-market economy.
Also known as state capitalism. Government and Economy China is a rapidly urbanizing country.
The urbanization rate exceeds 50 percent.
It is estimated that within the next 20 years, about 300 million people will move from rural to urban areas.
By the middle of the 21st Century, China will reach an urbanization rate of around 70 to 75 percent. Background Information Economic Conditions Chinese civilians in urban areas have more economic opportunities than those in rural areas.
The income difference ratio between urban and rural areas is more than 5:1.
Government focus has been put on enhancing urbanization in an effort to improve such a situation. Cultural Implications Greater access to economic opportunities has led to the breakdown of traditional gender roles in urban areas.
Women are more preferred as they help to better fulfill familial obligations.
Collective worldviews and thought processes are withering away due to rising economic conditions.
Individualistic mindsets are becoming commonplace Case Study: Shenzhen, China Located just north of Hong Kong
Considered a megalopolis
According to a 2010 study, Shengzhen is increasingly individualistic in comparison to less developed urban areas.
The prevalency of holistic, associative worldviews and ways of thinking can, therefore, be concluded as minimal. Background Information Rural China lags behind in development.
In accordance with urbanization trends, young rural Chinese are increasingly moving to cities.
Lack of progress in the countryside has allowed for the emergence and reaffirmation of various cultural constructs. Taoism Established between 6th Century BCE and 4th Century BCE by Laozi and Zhuangzi
Encompasses numerous naturalistic, philosophical, and mystical beliefs:
The Dao (way, etc.)
De (virtue, virtuosity, etc.)
Wei-Wuwei (Action-Nonaction)
The systemic nature of Taoist beliefs forms the basis for the holistic and associative way of thinking found in Eastern and Chinese society. Buddhism Based on the teachings of Siddartha Gautama (The Buddha).
Came to China during the Han Dynasty (1st Century BCE) from Central Asia.
Formed into three schools of Buddhist thought:
Pure Land
Supressed along with other religious/moral/ethical philosophies during Mao Tse Tung's Cultural Revolution.
Beliefs include:
The Three Marks of Existence
The Four Noble Truths
The Five Skandhas
The Six Realms
The Eightfold Path
Nirvana Rural China and Taoism There has been a recent reenculturation of Taoism in the countryside.
The reasons are both communal and political Reconstruction of the Hall of the Jade Emperor In 2010, the provincial government in China began reconstruction of the Temple of the Jade Emperor on Mount Yi.
The effort for local Taoists is to use the temple to revive their ancient religion.
The effort according to government officials is to enhance tourism in an economically depleted area. The Dao provides a naturalistic connection among adherents to the rural world.
Individuals form a holistic way of thinking about their world, and use an associative way of thinking to guide them in pursuit of living at one with the Dao. Rural China, Buddhism, and the Tibet Conflict Tibetan Buddhism
Lamas- teachers
The Dalai Lama- supreme spiritual leader
Tenzin Gyatso
Due to their societal autonomy, Tibetan Buddhists see China's occupation of their territory as a cultural upheaval designed to assimilate them into greater Chinese society.
Tibetan Buddhists have reacted quite adamantly on such sentiments, and China has cracked down forcefully: Rural China, Confucianism, and Gender Hierarchy Gender roles in rural areas remain rigid.
Women are still seen as inferior to men
Confucian philosophy on gender heavily influences such
Women are typically viewed as homemakers, and childbearers.
At the same time, the Communist one-child policy exacerbates this inferiority due to the abortion of 90 percent of second pregnancies. Particularily in rural China, males are highly preferred and many girls are abandoned or sold by their parents. Political Power and Philosophy One's choice of philosophy in China is highly determinant upon one's political power The Ruling Elite Top Chinese political leaders tend to be conservative and technocratic.
In line with Confucian tenets, albeit absent the meritocratic selection process, members of the National People's Congress tend to be among the best and the brightest in economics and engineering.
Politicians gear policy towards systemic (holistic) harmony and stability. We must "enhance culture as part of the soft power of our country to better guarantee the people's cultural rights and interests". In 2007, Former Chinese President Hu Jintao proclaimed the following in a speech to the National People's Congress: This includes:
Development of Chinese media
Proliferation of Chinese nonprofit cultural organizations
Establishment of a formal cultural industry Nonprofit cultural organizations designed to promote Chinese language and popular culture
Utilize Confucian methods of teaching to facilitate knowledge.
As of 2010, Confucian Institutes have spread to over 94 countries worldwide. Confucian Institutes The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games of 2008 became an icon for Chinese use of soft power. "largest, costliest extravaganza in Olympic history." Opening Ceremony of Olympic Games 2008 China aimed at showcasing the rapid economic growth of the country and earning international recognition as a world power. The ceremony was described as an harmonous combination of local and global cultural Chinese values. At its core were the three main ideals of China:
Harmony and peace (Confucianism's essence)
Power and innovation "The most expenssive theatrical display in history"
(an estimate of US$ 300 Million ) Directed by the internationally acclaimed Chinese filmmaker, Zhang Yimou, this ceremony involved:
15,000 performers in a series of numbers that lasted over 2 hours.
Witnessed by a live audience of some 91,000 spectators
Transmitted to an alleged international audience of 3 billion. A favorable position The rising questions on the role of China in the World stage, as a modern superpower.
The representation of Ancient Chinese culture through the most tecgnologically advanced effects made a symbolic statement on China's place in modern culture. A Modern world power Beijing 2008 Source: CIA World Factbook. China. October 4 2012. Web. October 15 2012. Source: CIA World Factbook. China. October 4 2011. Web. October 15 2012. Source: CIA World Factbook. China. Web. October 4 2012. Web. October 15 2012. Sources: Xinhua News Agency. "China urbanization rate exceeds 50 percent." Xinhua News Agency. May 29 2012. Web. October 15 2012. Source: Xinhua News Agency. "Urban-rural income gap gets bigger: report." Xinhua News Agency. August 14 2012. Web. October 15 2012 China.org.cn. "China's urbanization rate to further boom." Xinhua News Agency. May 4 2012. Web. October 15 2012. Sources: "China From the Inside.Women- Opinion: Population." PBS. PBS, ND. Web. 14 Oct 2012. Kwon, Jong-Wook. "Does China have more than one culture?: Exploring regional differences of work values in China." Asia Pacific Journal Management (2012) 29: 79-102. Springer Link. Web. October 15 2012. Sources: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taoism. June 28 2007. Web. October 15 2012.
St. Xenophon Library. Tao Te Ching 67, 29 Translations. n.d. Web. October 15 2012.
BBC. "Religion: Taoism." BBC. n.d. Web. October 15 2012. Sources: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Buddha. February 17 2011. Web. October 15 2012.
Buddha Dharma Education Association & BuddhaNet. "Basic Buddhism Guide: Introduction to Buddhism." n.d. Web. October 15 2012. Source: "China From the Inside.Women- Opinion: Population." PBS. PBS, ND. Web. 14 Oct 2012. Source: Johnson, Ian. "The Rise of the Tao." New York Times. November 5 2010. Web. October 15 2012. Source: Bohorquez, Tysha. "Soft Power- The Means to Success in World Politics." UCLA International Institute. December 1 2005. Web. October 15 2012. Source: The 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. "Hu Jintao calls for enhancing "soft power" of Chinese Culture." October 15 2007. Web. October 15 2012. Is China Exceptional? The Big Question
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