What should every American know about China?
Paul Denlinger, Have lived in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong; fluent in Mandarin (written, spoken)
Answered Nov 26
The US’s overall belief in private sector investment and individualism does not offer international competitiveness against a nation and society which has:
1、Four times the population of the US;
2、Has a strong belief in the value of education, and has used an education-based meritocracy for the past 1,600 years (beginning in the Sui dynasty) as a way to bring the smartest and most talented people to the top of the pyramid in society;
3、Which is bound by strong family values and collective effort, instead of pure individualism which has dominated the American narrative;
4、Is more willing to study and understand other cultures, societies and languages in order to succeed;
5、Believes in hard work, not just as a slogan, but something which people actually do;
6、A society which believes its time has come, and is willing to work in any other society, language and culture, after a century and a half of humiliation.
7、A society and people which are willing to sacrifice and take the long view, instead of viewing things only in the short-term and immediate gratification.
8、Looks forward to the future, instead of looking at the past for answers.
Most importantly, in today’s globalized world, a nation and society do not need to be your enemy to grind your society into the dust.
They just need to be harder working, more competitive, embrace change faster, smarter, and have bigger numbers…
5.6k Views · 236 Upvotes
Sthitapragnya Deshpande, worked at China
Answered Nov 27
1) It is NOT a communist country like USSR was. It is more of a capitalist country like USA, except that food, health care and education are very cheap, unemployment is low and housing is pretty affordable.
2) People in China have the same amount of freedom as USA (roughly). They don't have to crack jokes on their president as they don't need to (jokers with orange hair cannot get to the top here)
3) Internet is not completely censored in China. Everyone can access most western websites. And for those that are blocked (fb, google), the Chinese have a better more suited set of such websites (weibo, wechat, baidu) that work better for them. When I show baidu maps images to my friends from USA, they are always pleasantly surprised.
4) Chinese people like to work hard. They like to hang around with their families. They like to make noise.
5) Most Chinese people (70%) could have 2 kids all through the last four decades - only people with large city hukou had a disincentive if they did not follow the oen child policy. Many today choose to have one kid even if they can afford to have 2 kids 9which is now allowed in cities too).
6) Most Chinese people who like to believe in the supernatural believe in God and religion. Those who don't fancy such ideas don't. They all remember God and the supernatural in times of difficulty. Like every other person.
7) Chinese people are less obsessed with USA than Americans seem to obsessed with China. Chinese people know far ore of USA than Americans know of China.
8) Ironically for a state with a different form of governance, Chinese people do not have any false notions of the importance of their country. Something that surprisingly does not seem to sink into those of us who have been born and lived in democracies with free flow of information.
9) It is a fantastic country to visit currently - simply to see how systems can work for people if the government wants.
8k Views · 187 Upvotes · Answer requested by Megan Liscomb