Chinese Cultural Perspectives

Chinese Culture

We did have occasions to talk openly with a few of our tour guides and our furniture friends about life in China. We very much appreciated their candor, frankness, and bravery in speaking about the Dalai Lama, censoring by the Chinese government and pollution. In general, they all said the same thing to us.

They respect the Dalai Lama but see him and native Tibetan people as troublemakers who want to break away from China. This seems as preposterous to them as would Montana declaring independence from the USA.

They say they understand that the Chinese government censors what they hear and read in newspapers, TV, radio, and the internet. However, they think this is ok because they believe only pornography and violence are being censored. We shared with them that we think even factual information, history, current news and even the Silk Road website is not fully available. They didn’t seem to believe us.

They also seem to think that the strong arm of the communist government is needed to keep them on the economic path of progress; somebody has to keep everything going and to keep dissent down. They are making money and improving their lives, so who cares about having more rights, voting and more freedoms? Life is so much better now.

This concept also seemed to be the answer we got when speaking to people about the forced removal of over 2 million people due to the Three Gorges Dam project. They have new apartments and sewerage so it is OK that historic cities have been demolished and fertile farmland submerged.

They do not seem to understand the impact that their pollution is having and will have on their lives and the environment. The people we spoke to about the every present heavy smog seemed to think this was normal for large cities.

One thing they did not like and wanted changed was inflation. As we understand, China has been having an inflation rate of over 7% per year for the last few years. At 7% inflation over 7 years, prices would double. This rate is above their economic progress rate.

They also expressed how much they liked the American people but often didn’t agree with the policies of the American government and especially the current Bush administration.

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