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Free «Cultural Perspectives from another Country» Essay Sample

Introduction

China is the world’s largest country in population, and the third largest in area. Chinese culture represents a unique combination of different religious and social values influenced by historical traditions and westernization. Chinese industry was almost completely destroyed in the first half of the twentieth century.  This was because of the fact that cheap mass produced cotton and plastic goods from both Japan and Europe had all but driven Chinese craftsmen to ruin, and native industries did not have the money to buy modern equipment (Taleb 2007). By 1974, China had its own industries, and under the “iron rice bowl policy” every factory provided education for its workers.  Small factories (collectives) were owned by their workers, but larger factories were state owned. In the 1980s, the government introduced many economic reforms, especially in areas in the East, called “special economic zones” where foreign companies were encouraged to operate,

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History, Culture, Lifestyle

The Chinese government has few funds to invest in culture and education because of the financial burden of population growth, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. Although the physique and general health of China's population is quite good, general education is less than optimal. Illiteracy rates have in fact dropped from 38.1 % in 1964 to 20.6% in 1987, but the aggregate reduction is insignificant. Admission at colleges and universities is tremendously competitive with rates as low as 4.6%, compared to the world average university admission rate of 14.3% (Taleb, 2007). Rates in Britain, France, and Japan are 23.4%, 18.3%, and 15.4%, respectively. An estimated 0.66% of China's population has a college education, 7% has a secondary school education, and 36.1 % has at least a primary school education. Most Chinese people have extended families (Perry, 2007).

Family-planning initiatives initially ran aground in the early to mid-1970s. Prior to effective population control measures, improved living standards simply fueled unabated population growth and environmental degradation. The expanding population soured relationships between humans and their surroundings. There were simply too many people competing for too few resources (Taleb, 2007). What gains the Chinese economy had made since 1949 simply became diluted. National income in 1988 amounted to RMB 1.77 billion yuan, exceeding the 1952 national income by a factor of 21. If one accounts for population, the increase is still considerable, although less dramatic. Per capita income increased between 1952 and 1987 by a factor of 10.4. Aggregate consumption in 1988 amounted to RMB 797.1 million yuan, an increase from 1952 figures by a factor of 16.7. Excessive population growth, however, has tempered per capita consumption increases. Since 1952, per capita consumption has grown by a factor of only 8.7. If China's population had increased no higher than 700-800 million people, the state would have had ample funds to invest, increase production, and improve living conditions (Taleb, 2007).

Religion

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China represents a society with different religious trends and ideologies. The main religions are Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism. When Buddhism arrived in China, Confucianism was already being practiced, instilling the idea that women should be submissive to men. While Buddhism is nothing like Confucianism, the affect it had is apparent when comparing monks to nuns (Tubilewicz, 2006). If a woman wanted to enter the monastic life, she had to have permission from the person who had authority over her. Her reasons for doing so may simply have been to find refuge from an unwelcome marriage, flight from war, homelessness, lack of protection and so on rather than specifically for enlightenment. The official language in China is Chinese, but it has  verious variation and dialects. Mandarin is the official spoken standard of language, but the variety of dialects (Shanghaiese and Cantonese) creates a difficulty to communicate with firms in different parts of the country. In many cases, the official language of business negotiations is English, but it is highly recommended for businessmen to find an interpreter in order to understand subtle nuances of everything during meetings (Tubilewicz, 2006).

Import/Exports, Types of Employment

The science and technology of Europe's Industrial Revolution further transformed China. At one time characterized as "passive adaptation," humans' interaction with the environment increasingly became "active." At present, the world's population is unprecedented. Average consumption levels continually increase as standards of living improve. Environmental impacts also increase in direct accordance with this growth. Traditional agricultural districts (also suited for habitation) include plains in temperate areas, river valleys, and deltas (Warner, 2000). All are overcrowded. Vast areas of once-cultivated land are now covered with human habitation, factories, highways, mining operations, municipal facilities, and airports. Loss of cultivated areas has been quite high. Moreover, losses are commonly cumulative and irreversible. Lost Chinese people prefer life long employment (Tubilewicz, 2006).

The dramatic impact of globalization on the world's economic interdependence is demonstrated in new figures on foreign direct investment released on Monday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development ahead of its annual world investment report next week. The global stock of FDI jumped more than tenfold between 1980 and 2002 to $7,100bn, as transnational companies spread their production and distribution systems around the world. The figures showed Chinese mainland rapidly catching up with the US as the world's most popular location for foreign investment. The US tops the league table of overseas investment destinations with a stock of FDI of US$1,351 billion. But the stock in Chinese mainland totaled US$448 billion, up from just US$25 billion in 1990. Combined with Hong Kong's stock of FDI of US$433 billion, China takes the number two spot (Zinn 2005) Chinese industry has continued to progress in this way, and currently foreign countries with branches and interests in China include McDonalds. In contrast to the USA, the main exports are IT products, agricultural and manufacturing products. The imports are power generating equipment, plastics and pharmaceuticals (Warner, 2000).

Dress, Food, Customs

 
 
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Traditional food is China is sea food and grains. Increasing pressure on limited resources such as fresh water, mineral deposits, and energy resources disturbs supply and demand of food. The traditional clothing is hanfu. Similr to Americans, Chinese celebrate the New Year Day and Interntional women’s day. Still, they have many religious celebrations including Lantern Festival, Qing Ming, Dragon Boat) Festival, spring festival. In everyday life, mediation practices are common. In Eastern religion, meditation helps people to concentrate on building a self-contained alternative world, somehow parallel to and prefer­ably insulated from, the world of patience. Moreover, the attempt to impose collectivism creates a universe where individual personalities become all-important and in which you can't criticize anyone's performance of a particular task without it being seen as a total attack on the person. It thus becomes impossible to distinguish "doing a bad job" from being a bad person (Warner, 2000).

Impact of the USA and China

The westernization and adoption of American traditions improved Chinese medicine and education. Today, nationwide health services are available now as well. By 1989, the number of medical establishments reached 207,000 with 2,568 hospital beds and 3,809,000 professional medical workers (Kohn, 2001). Spread all about urban and rural districts, medical establishments are complemented by public health services run by collectives and individuals (Warner, 2000). The new social security system includes retirement expenses, free medical services, cooperative medical service, pension plans for the disabled and family members of deceased, social relief plans, labor insurance, and rural social security. The various welfare establishments include 37,000 homes for the aged with 761,000 beds. An estimated 580,000 persons have been admitted. Moreover, social welfare establishments and employment opportunities accommodate 659,000 disabled persons. A 1987 survey estimates that China's disabled population is 51.64 million, or approximately the population of France. Hereditary and prenatal deformation accounts for the majority of handicaps (Zinn 2005). This led to unique and outstanding cultural traditions followed by millions of Chinese citizens.

Conclusion

The American men dismiss propaganda as stereotyped and reactionary slander and interpreted the methods of the religion as expressions of an outdated faith, hopelessly condemned to Self-destruction. At the same time, it is apparent that the meetings exerted a strong influence and, especially in the provinces, stirred up further resistance and often resulted in violent obstruction of religious work (Warner, 2000). As rejection is closely related to obvious signs of social expansion, it is almost predictable that all sorts of social interactions are disturbed. In America, while social relations and communication practices coexist in an established harmony, religious traditions come as an intruder, overturning the rules and disrupting the harmony. The natural response of the society is to defend itself by excluding the intruder through social sanctions. As one of the fundamental units in Western society, the household would usually find it intolerable to accept faith among its individual members. The Eastern tradition is established as the religion of the household, it was very difficult for people to withstand the pressure. Even though the records have little data about such pressure, it is probably one of the main factors that kept people away from contact with work. Culture and traditions in China have been transformed by politics of westernization and changes brought by globalization.

   

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