Interests And Difficulties In Understanding Chinese Culture: What To Prepare For When Communicating With Cultural Others

Ills.: yangshuoshaolin.com

Ills.: yangshuoshaolin.com

Abstract
Because of the long history and richness of civilization in China (Leung, 2008; Liu, 2009; Hu, Grove, and Zhuang, 2010), as well as the complexity and diversity of Chinese culture in mainland China and in the Chinese community worldwide (The Chinese Culture Connection, 1987; Fan, 2000), the task of designing an introductory course on Chinese culture for Westerners presents certain difficulties (Luk, 1991; Fan, 2000). While the content of a comprehensive course on Chinese culture remains to be decided, the present study explores a 12-week introductory course on four areas of Chinese culture. It was delivered to 16 Irish students who were doing a degree in Intercultural Studies. Each participant was asked to write a 500-word reflective journal entry every two weeks and an essay of 2,000–2,500 words at the end of the course.
The study aims to find out which area(s) and topic(s) might be of interest to or potential obstacles for Irish students in future participation in intercultural dialogue with Chinese people. Using the software Wordsmith Tools (Scott, 1996), the study identifies both the area and the sub-topic within each area that are of greatest interest yet previously unknown to Irish students.

The results show that the section on “love, sex, and marriage in China” was very well received and the most discussed topic in their journals and essays. The participants demonstrated fascination with the changing role of women in Chinese culture and identified shared ground in terms of marriage choices in both Irish and Chinese societies, which could help them to develop a deeper understanding of Chinese society and participate in intercultural dialogue from this perspective. A number of topics, such as martial arts films, the urban/rural divide, loss of face, etc., can be employed as prisms through which students can explore and understand elements of Chinese culture and its evolution over time.
The understanding of “face” in Chinese culture is perceived by the participants as being of great importance in intercultural and interpersonal communication, which could undoubtedly support engagement in open and respectful exchange or interaction between the Irish and Chinese. Interestingly, the participants indicated that it is difficult to understand that the use of linguistic politeness could lead to the speaker being perceived as “powerless” in Chinese society, which could mean that not being aware of this might lead to miscommunication between individuals with different cultural backgrounds. In general, the findings presented in this chapter may have significant pedagogical implications for teachers and students of intercultural communication, but may also be of interest to those with a practical involvement in intercultural dialogue. Read more

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The History And Context Of Chinese-Western Intercultural Marriage In Modern And Contemporary China (From 1840 To The 21st Century)

Australian wife Margaret and her Chinese husband Quong Tart and their three eldest children, 1894. Source: Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists

Australian wife Margaret and her Chinese husband Quong Tart and their three eldest children, 1894.
Source: Tart McEvoy papers, Society of Australian Genealogists

1.1 Brief Introduction
It is now becoming more and more common to see Chinese-Western intercultural couples in China and other countries. In the era of the global village, intercultural marriage between different races and nationalities is frequent. It brings happiness, but also sorrow, as there are both understandings and misunderstandings, as well as conflicts and integrations. With the reform of China and the continuous development, and improvement of China’s reputation internationally, many aspects of intercultural marriage have changed from ancient to contemporary times in China. Although marriage is a very private affair for the individuals who participate in it, it also reflects and connects with many complex factors such as economic development, culture differences, political backgrounds and transition of traditions, in both China and the Western world. As a result, an ordinary marriage between a Chinese person and a Westerner is actually an episode in a sociological grand narrative.

This paper reviews the history of Chinese-Western marriage in modern China from 1840 to 1949, and it reveals the history of the earliest Chinese marriages to Westerners at the beginning of China’s opening up. More Chinese men married Western wives at first, while later unions between Chinese wives and Western husbands outnumbered these. Four types of CWIMs in modern China were studied. Both Western and Chinese governments’ policies and attitudes towards Chinese-Western marriages in this period were also studied. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, from 1949 to 1978, for reasons of ideology, China was isolated from Western countries, but it still kept diplomatic relations with Socialist Countries, such as the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. Consequently, more Chinese citizens married citizens of ex-Soviet and Eastern European Socialist Countries. Chinese people who married foreigners were usually either overseasstudents, or embassy and consulate or foreign trade staff. Since the economic reformation in the 1980s, China broke the blockade of Western countries, and also adjusted its own policies to open the country. Since then, international marriages have been increasing. Finally, this chapter discusses the economic, political and cultural contexts of intercultural marriage between Chinese and Westerners in the contemporary era.

1.2 Chinese-Western Intermarriage in Modern China: 1840–1949
In ancient China, there are three special forms of intercultural/interracial marriages. First, people living in a country subjected to war often married members of the winning side. For instance, in the Western Han Dynasty, Su Wu was detained by Xiongnu for nineteen years, and married and had children with the Xiongnu people. In the meantime, his friend Li Ling also married the daughter of Xiongnu’s King[i]; In the Eastern Han Dynasty, Cai Wenji was captured by Xiongnu and married Zuo Xian Wang and they had two children.[ii] The second example is the He Qin (allied marriage) between royal families in need of certain political or diplomatic relationships. The (He Qin) allied marriage is very typical and representative within the Han and Tang Dynasties. The third example is the intercultural/interracial marriages between residents of border areas and those in big cities. As to the former two ways of intercultural/ interracial marriage in Chinese history, the first one happened much more in relation to the common people plundered by the victorious nation, while the second one was an outer form of political alliance. The direct reason for the political allied marriage was to eliminate foreign invasion and keep peace. In that case, when the second form went smoothly, the first form inevitably ceased, however, when the first form increased, the second form failed due to the war. Read more

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The Irish Asia Strategy and Its China Relations 1999-2009 – 爱尔兰的亚洲战略与中爱关系 1999-2009

IrishAsia

Fan Hong & J.C. Gottwald – The Irish Asia Strategy and Its China Relations 1999-2009 – 爱尔兰的亚洲战略与中爱关系  1999-2009 –

Order the bookEHV Verlag Bremen – ISBN 978-3867418959 – 2014

The Irish government’s Asia Strategy was initiated in 1999. It aimed to establish with Asian countries a coherent policy of engagement, on a political, economic, commercial, educational and cultural level. China was one of the countries identified as core in the Asia Strategy. Guided by the Asia Strategy political, economic, cultural, educational and social relations between Ireland and China have improved beyond recognition during the past ten years.
A decade after its inauguration the Asia Strategy is set to be revised to take account of the ever changing world. In this book for the first time, leading representatives from government, business and academia together revisit the Asia Strategy, examine its development and analyses it in the context of other European countries.

Following a Foreword by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the authors discuss the political process that led up to the strategy and the roles of various actors within the strategy, in terms of Ireland-China in particular. Together with its Appendix containing an overview of significant historical steps in bilateral relations, this book presents an informative and in-depth analysis on Ireland’s Asia Strategy and its engagement with the emerging economies in the Asian region, especially China.

Fan Hong is Professor of Chinese Studies. She received her BA and MA in China and PhD at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. She was Chair in Chinese Studies at De Montfort University in UK before becoming the first director of the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (UCC) since its funding in 2006 and first Head of School of Asian Studies since its founding in 2009. She has published extensively on Chinese historical and social issues.

J.C. Gottwald held positions at Free University Berlin and University of Trier before joining the UCC in 2006. He has published internationally on political and economic reform in China, European China policies and the politics of financial services regulation in Europe and China.

Contents

Acknowledgement (See Below)
Foreword – Micheál Martin, TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Foreword – Dr. Sha Hailin, Former Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Ireland
1. Introduction: The Rise of China and the Irish Asia Strategy – Fan Hong & Jörn-Carsten Gottwald
2a. China’s Economy and EnterprisePart One – China’s Economy: Achievements, Challenges, And Future Orientation – Sha Hailin
2b. China’s Economy and EnterprisePart Two – Business Competitiveness on which China’s Economic Strenght is based – Sha Hailin
2c.  China’s Economy and EnterprisePart Three – Sino-Ireland friendly cooperation and mutual development – Sha Hailin
3. Social Change and the UrbaneRural Divide in China – Martin King Whyte
4. Towards a Creative China: Education in China – Geir Sigurdsson
5. Creating an Asia Strategy – Sean Gorman
6. Irish-Chinese Political and Economic Relations: An Overview – James Cuffe
7. Sino-Irish Relations: a View from China – John Armstrong & Yang Ning
8. Promoting Irish Interests: the Role of the Government – Michael Garvey
9. Friendship between Citizens: the Twinning of Cities – Pat Ledwidge
10. Connecting Cultures: the Role of Education – Fan Hong
11. Comparing Irish and Chinese Politics of Regulation – Jörn-Carsten Gottwald & Neil Collins
12. Ireland and the ASEM Process: the Case of the Asia Europe Foundation – Peter Ryan & Tom Hardiman
13. The Irish Strategy in European Comparison – Deirdre Coby, Niall Duggan & Benedikt Seemann
14. Ireland, China and the EU: Foreign Policy in a Europeanised Context – Andrew Cottey & Natasha Underhill

About the authors
Appendix I: A Decade of the Asia Strategy (1999-2009)
Appendix II: Speech by An Taoiseach Mr Bertie Ahern TD at Tsinghua University, Beijing, January 18, 2005
Appendix III: Chronology of Major Events of Sino-Irish Relations (1979-2009) Read more

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ISSA Proceedings 2006 ~ From Figure To Argument: Contrarium In Roman Rhetoric

logo 20061. Introduction
Roman rhetoricians knew about a certain rhetorical device called contrarium, which they, however, variably considered either a figure of speech or a certain type of argument, at times even both. This paper will try to analyze the function of this term that vacillates between the realms of stylistic embellishment and argumentation and to elucidate both its logical background and linguistic appearance. In a first section, the development of the concept of contrarium from the Rhetoric to Herennius to Cicero and Quintilian will be sketched. Next, Cicero’s account of the enthymeme in his Topics and its relationship to contrarium will be analyzed and, based on the examples offered by those authors, an analysis of the typical pattern of this type of argument will be given. A study of a selection of examples from Cicero’s writings will reveal their underlying argumentative basis, before finally the persuasive force of the standard phrasing as rhetorical questions will be discussed.

2. Contrarium in Roman Rhetoric

2.1. Contrarium in the Rhetoric to Herennius
In the fourth book of the anonymous Rhetoric to Herennius, which is arguably the oldest extant rhetorical handbook in Latin, most commonly dated to the mid-80s of the first century B.C.E., a feature called contrarium appears within a lengthy list of figures of diction (Rhet. ad Her. 4.25-26). It is defined as a figure “which, of two opposite statements, uses one so as neatly and directly to prove the other.” Unfortunately, the anonymous author does not go into any greater analytic detail. Instead, he prefers to offer a whole series of examples, as follows (trans. Caplan 1954, p. 293, modified):

(1) Now how should you expect one who has ever been hostile to his own interests to be friendly to another’s?
(2) Now why should you think that one who is, as you have learned, a faithless friend, can be an honourable enemy?
(3) How should you expect a person whose arrogance has been insufferable in private life, to be agreeable and self-knowing when in power, and
(4) one who in conversation among friends has never spoken the truth, to refrain from lies before public assemblies?
(5) Do we fear to fight them on the plains when we have hurled them down from the hills?
(6) When they outnumbered us, they were not equal to us; now that we outnumber them, do we fear that they will be superior to us?

It is obvious that in each of these examples one or more pairs of opposites are involved:
(1) own interests versus another’s; hostile versus friendly;
(2) friend versus enemy;
(3) arrogance versus agreeability; private life versus position in power;
(4) truth versus lies; conversation among friends versus public assemblies;
(5) plains versus hills;
(6) them outnumbering us versus us outnumbering them; not even equal versus superior. Read more

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Chapter 1: Introduction – The Rise of China And The Irish Asia Strategy ~ The Irish Asia Strategy and Its China Relations

IrishAsiaIntroduction
The People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Ireland appear to have very little in common: the People’s Republic of China – a huge, ancient civilisation with the largest population of all at the Eastern end of the Eurasian continent; and the Republic of Ireland – a small island at the opposite Western rim of Europe with only 4.4 million inhabitants. And yet, in spite of the vast difference in size, Ireland and China have an astonishingly rich and long history of bilateral exchanges. In recent years both countries have witnessed tremendous economic growth stimulating deep social changes. However, while the Celtic Tiger has seen his strength evaporate in the current economic crisis, China continues to be one of the centres of gravity for the global economy. Therefore, the incentives for Irish entrepreneurs, politicians and Irish society to look East are growing fast.

Asian economic, social and political transformation after World War II is without precedent. Asia emerged from a war-torn, colonial battlefield of European and American interests to the global powerhouse. Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea as the first two generations of ‘Tiger Economies’ set the tone for the biggest country, China to follow suit once the reform policies of the late Deng Xiaoping were introduced. The Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in December of this year is one the most important events in recent history. It is the defining symbol for a pragmatic departure from policies based on ideology and for a state-orchestrated and society-based model for policy-making that has tremendously improved the living conditions of the vast majority of the Chinese people. Without the political and economic change in China, the whole phenomenon called ‘globalisation’ would have been incomplete.

The consumer and productivity boom in the United States and Europe benefitted from cheap imports and competitive pressure from Asia in general and China in particular. The unique combination of authoritarian politics with pro-market reforms is questioning traditional ‘Western’ academic notions of democracy and economic order.

As a role model for states and societies, the ‘Asian Model(s)’ of economic development have a deep influence on preferences and policies world-wide. The combination of export based growth, political authoritarianism and limited social pluralism is proving increasingly attractive to governments and people all over Asia, Africa and Latin America.

For Europe and the United States, these developments are challenging. While very supportive of the first generation of emerging countries in Asia, the rise of China has been welcomed less unequivocally. The issue of engagement or containment of China as a potential global rival and desperately needed global partner is continuing while global issues need a truly global response – climate change, energy security, the fight against poverty, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the war against terrorism. Therefore, it is in the interest of European and American governments to seek close cooperation with China. At the same time, however, different preferences and norms underlying China’s policies are counteracting over-optimistic approaches to liberal world politics. In any case, a better mutual understanding is of core significance. Read more

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Chapter 2 – China’s Economy And Enterprises ~ Part One: China’s Economy: Achievements, Challenges, And Future Orientation ~The Irish Asia Strategy and Its China Relations

IrishAsiaSpeech at the International Forum: China in the 21st Century: Culture, Politics, and Business – Sha Hailin

Part One – China’s economy: achievements, challenges, and future orientation

1. Remarkable economic achievements in China
Ever since reform and opening up, China has made remarkable achievements in economic and social developments. The economy has grown rapidly, people’s living standards have improved significantly, overall strength of the nation has been enhanced, and great progress has been made in social developments. In recent years, in particular, China has given greater priority to the quality of her economic growth and has taken a scientific approach, working towards comprehensive, harmonious, and sustainable development in the future.

1.1 High-speed growth over the past consecutive years
According to official statistics, aggregate GDP, over the past 28 years since China’s reform and opening up, rose from USD 147.3 billion in 1978 to USD 2245 billion in2005, registering a 15.2-fold growth[i]. From 1979 through 2005, the GDP of China in real terms had an average annual growth of about 9.7% (based on comparable prices). During the same period, per capita GDP grew from USD 173 in 1980 to USD 1700 in 2005, registering a 10-fold increase.

Such speed is much greater than the high growth rate once achieved by Japan and other newly industrialized economies in Asia, and has created the biggest miracle in the history of world economic development. Japan experienced an annual economic growth of 3.85% during its golden period between 1971 and 1991, and Korea, Chinese Taiwan, and Malaysia witnessed an annual economic growth of 7.06%, 7.35%, and 6.53% in their respective economies between 1971 and 2003. [ppt 7] We can proudly say, “No county can beat China in terms of long-term sustained and high growth in its economy. It has taken China only 20-odd years to achieve what took other countries several decades or even more than a hundred years.”[ii] After the newly-elected central government made a proposal to take a scientific approach towards a comprehensive, harmonious, and sustainable development, China’s economy has taken on a momentum of fast and steady growth. According to preliminary data worked out in the 2006 Statistics Gazette of the People’s Republic of China on National Economic and Social Development, China’s GDP reached RMB 20940.7 billion, up 10.7% over the previous year (See Chart 1).

PDF: Chart 1 China’s GDP and its Growth during 2002-2006 Source: 2006 Statistics Gazette of the People’s Republic of China on National Economic and Social Development

Chart 1 China’s GDP and its Growth during 2002-2006
Source: 2006 Statistics Gazette of the People’s Republic of China on National Economic and Social Development

1.2 Optimization of industrial structure
Apart from the high level of economic growth, there has been a gradual optimization of industrial structure in China. Back in 1978, the proportion of the primary industry to GDP was 28.1%, secondary industry 48.2%, and tertiary industry 23.7%. By 2005, the primary industry dropped to 12.4%, secondary industry to 47.3%, with the rise of the tertiary industry to 40.3% [iii]. According to the Statistics Gazette, the added value of the primary industry amounted to RMB 2470 billion in 2006, up 5.0%; that of the second industry was RMB 10200.4 billion, up 12.5%; that of the tertiary industry stood at RMB 8270.3 billion, up 10.3%. The three industries account for 11.8%, 48.7%, and 39.5% of GDP[iv].

1.3 Opening wider to the outside world
Ever since the basic strategy was raised at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee to promote economic and social development through opening up, China has been a very active player in international economic and technological cooperation and competition, and has opened further and wider to the outside world, seizing the opportunities brought by economic globalization. Especially since 2001, China’s accession to the WTO has brought the Chinese domestic market closer to the international market, and greatly enhanced the interaction between our domestic economy and the world economy. Trade and investment have become the major forces driving the economic and social development of China.

During the 10th Five-Year Period (2001-2005), especially after China’s entry into the WTO, trade and foreign investment in China increased significantly. Over the five-year period, total trade volume reached USD 4557.9 billion, with an average annual increase of 24.6%, among which exports totalled USD 2385.2 billion, with an average annual growth of 25%, and imports totalled USD 2172.7 billion, with an average annual growth of 24%. The paid-in amount of FDI was USD 274.1 billion, with an average annual growth of 8.2%. These figures show a significant increase in trade and investment over the 9th Five-Year Period (See Table 1) Read more

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