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By Angie Eagan, Rebecca Weiner

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Extra resources for Culture Shock! China: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

Sample text

The busy American family, leaving each other Post-It notes on their way to conflicting sports events, meetings, and so on, is largely incomprehensible to most Chinese. However much Westerners admire the upside of Chinese family closeness, the downsides of it can cause friction and misunderstandings. Even in adulthood, Chinese family members tend to involve themselves in each other’s The family is the centre of focus for the Chinese, and children are brought up to be filial and close to their families.

The Chinese 51 Family Values American watchdog groups who advocate strong family ties might well look to China for what truly strong family ties mean. Growing out of Confucian ideals and other Chinese traditions, China places a centrality on the importance of family obligations that surpasses anything most Americans are familiar with. Most Chinese parents and children grow up as a matter of course eating almost all meals together, sharing free time together, supporting each other at times of stress, and sharing resources remarkably freely from a Western perspective.

The Han is the majority ethnicity in China, named after the Han dynasty, which united the core of what is now China starting in about 221 BC. If so, where does this leave the non-Han minorities; are they Chinese or not? What about ethnically non-Chinese people who have immigrated to China (there are increasingly many as China’s economic opportunities grow)? What about the emigrants, the ‘overseas Chinese’, an estimated 35 million people of mostly Han ethnicity now living outside China? Many such overseas families haven’t visited mainland China for generations.

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