Chinese-Western cultural dichotomies and their negative impact (#1 TRUTH)

Jun 01, 2020

Have you ever thought Chinese people are brainwashed?

Do you believe the "freedoms" we so value are in Western democracies should be universal human rights?

If you answered 'Yes' to either of these questions, then I strongly encourage you to examine the major cultural dichotomies between China and America in order to discover the folly of this perspective, especially as it relates to developing mutually beneficial relationships across cultures.

The escalation of geopolitical conflict between China and America seems to have no amicable resolution. An economic trade war continues to escalate and expand into every facet of globalization, from territorial (South China Seas) and global institutions (WHO) to technology (5G) and how societies should be governed (Hong Kong).

China and America seemingly disagree about everything, but geopolitics aside, there are cultural dichotomies that we should all examine to discover winning alternatives to solve our Chinese Leadership Dilemmas, which are "unexpected disappointments" due to ignorance, myopia, and lack of awareness.

Cultural Dichotomy #1: TRUTH

When one person is talking in ABSOLUTES and the other is speaking in RELATIVE terms, it becomes nearly impossible to align because there is no intersection between these disparate considerations.

This divergence is further complicated at an emotional level when one side communications in a very DIRECT manner, while the other speaks more figuratively with an emphasis on maintaining harmony through the practice of giving and receiving FACE (mianzi).

The path to reaching a true consensus requires goodwill and positive assumptions from both sides.

In practical terms for most Westerners, expect with a positive attitude that Chinese people don't say what they mean or mean what they say and that it is cultural, not disagreeable.

To learn more about The China Leadership Dilemma and/or to support my mission to reduce our cultural biases by learning to "think different" about Chinese people.

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