Summary of Encountering the Chinese

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If you are going to China and seek a better understanding of the courtship between East and West, Hu Wenzhong, who is Chinese, and Cornelius Grove, who is American, wrote this culture-bridging book for you. They clearly reveal not only the differences between Chinese culture and the Western culture, but the origin of many of those differences. They explain both history and culture as a context for contemporary social standards, from practical etiquette to how to conduct yourself on a daily basis as you travel, live or work in China. The authors accomplish their explanatory goals, avoid silly generalities and give the visitor just enough knowledge to avoid being completely humiliated. When you read this, you’ll have a framework for determining what else you need to learn before you go. Meanwhile highly recommends this very readable, consistently interesting book.

About the Authors

Hu Wenzhong, president of the China Association for Intercultural Communication, was visiting professor at Pennsylvania State University at Harrisburg. Associated with the Beijing Foreign Studies University, he is a Fellow of the International Academy for Intercultural Research. Consultant and trainer Cornelius Grove teaches understanding other cultures. He was a visiting professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University.



Where East Joins West

China has been engaged in capitalist modernization since 1991, an uninterrupted course despite the death of Deng Xiaoping in early 1997. China’s GNP has been growing at about 10% annually, and some $30 billion dollars a year of foreign investment pours across its borders. Today, China has hundreds of thousands of millionaires and most multinational corporations, from Kodak to McDonald’s, do business there. If you visit China and mention Michael Jordan, both teenagers and their grandmothers will nod and smile in understanding.

China’s civilization stretches continuously back across 5,000 years. Agriculture was China’s lifeblood for most of those centuries. Peasants lived, worked and died together tilling the fields, and often a village’s entire population was a clan or family group. This agrarian foundation accounts for many cultural traits that still characterize China. More than 90% of the people are ethnic Han; the remainder are split among Mongolians, Tibetans and dozens of other ethnic groups. China holds fast to its collective, group-oriented values, the result of millennia spent working together closely to squeeze a livelihood from the land...

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