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Difference Between Chinese and Western Culture

chinese-pdChinese vs Western Culture

The major difference between Chinese and Western culture is that China is an oriental country, and its traditional culture is completely different from western heritage. Chinese culture is older than 5000 years, and Chinese people have developed their own music, musical instruments, painting techniques, traditional Chinese medicine, and not to forget, cooking methods etc – completely different and unique when compared to Western culture. Chinese believe in healthy eating, and have a holistic approach towards health. The Western culture is more advanced, and loves adventure and exploration. The Chinese focus more on collective gain instead of individual gain by making the right decisions, and believe in adopting a middle way to avoid extremism.

Westerners find the Chinese culture complex, and hard to understand, as the Chinese culture has its own values, background and belief system. The Chinese are very friendly and helpful to a stranger, compared to Westerners who would never entertain a stranger. Western culture has a wealthy and luxurious lifestyle, but Chinese mostly have a modest way of living, for example, on average, the Chinese may have no more than 40 sq. feet of living space. Chinese use sir names, and are strictly moral to avoid public displays of affection. The Western culture has the freedom to express them freely. When compared to Western culture, the Chinese culture differs a lot, as they value relationships more than their Western counterparts.

There is a vast difference between the major philosophies of eastern and western life. Westerners believe in self dedication to achieve their goals of success and happiness etc., whereas the Chinese have behavioral ethics, and are dependent on their inner world and perceptions of eternal recurrence. The Western approach is to search outside of yourself, whereas the Chinese prefer to adopt a systematic approach, and search within themselves.

The real happiness in Western society is based upon a materialistic approach, whereas the Chinese believe that true happiness is achieved by inner intervention, as the truth is the key to eternal bliss and happiness. The Western society believes in individualism, whereas the Chinese culture has faith in collectivism and fundamental connections with others. A Westerner is overwhelmed by pragmatic, materialistic and emotional approaches in comparison to the Chinese, who have a more missionary and spiritual approach towards life. The Westerner analyzes and the Chinese meditate. The Chinese believe in virtues and Westerners believe in value ethics.


1. Westerners believe in individualism, and Chinese believe in collectivism.
2. The Western culture has the freedom to express affection freely, whereas the Chinese culture is puritanical.
3. Western and Chinese philosophies are unique and entirely different to each other.
4. The Chinese believe in relationships, and searching for inner bliss and happiness through meditation.
5. The Western culture believes in a materialistic approach, and has a pragmatic and emotional attitude.

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  1. We can combine and select the good one and discard the improper one.

  2. I am Chinese – as long as America does not totally sell its soul to the evil Japan, still can our two nations be friends forevermore.

  3. Please, anyone reading this article… know that it is full of inaccuracies about Western culture and ideals. (A Westerner would never help a stranger? That is ridiculously wrong.) And living in China as long as I have, I know the writer isn’t even truthful about Chinese culture.

    Don’t believe what you see in our movies, and keep reading more elsewhere.

  4. Wow, I have never read such a poorly thought out comparison between two cultures. For example here are some excerpts.

    The Western culture is more advanced.

    compared to Westerners who would never entertain a stranger.

    4. The Chinese believe in … happiness through meditation.

    How can you say one culture is more “advanced” than another. What does that even mean? Also, I have lived in China for years and have never know a single Chinese person (whom are also quite materialistic btw) to meditate. Where are you getting your information?

  5. I agree with ancient Chinese traditions that have that the westerners might take a leaf out of it, but unfortunately we do not see this in modern China! This is mainly because of the communists and the cultural revolution, a whole generation and the future generations of Chinese people (In general, most of them at least) have now become unethical, unmoral, unlawful, materialistic bunch of people! Keep in mind that China is STILL a communist country, and still reported as having poor human rights record. History may shape the future, but communism destroyed history.
    By the way, I am 100% Chinese!

  6. This is REALLY REALLY inaccurate. I have been living in Beijing for over two years and have known hundreds of Chinese on a personal basis. Chinese people are overwhelmingly atheistic and non-spiritual. They are usually much more selfish and materialistic than Westerners, and have much more superficial and narrow ideas of happiness. This article represents the China of 200 hundred years ago.

  7. My attention was called back to this after a notification of a new post….

    It’s pretty clear this article was written by a Chinese individual, probably a college student. It represents not what China was like in past generations (although it may describe that), but my specifically, it represents what Chinese are taught about China, and a very large number of them seem to accept what they are taught rather than what they see.

    That being said, there is nothing inherent or genetic or absolute that makes China and Chinese this way, it is the aftershocks of a disastrous 20 century (and perhaps a few centuries of sociopolitical decay before that). Recent history has not been kind to the Chinese, and their response to it has been survivalist rather than resilient.

    In the next few generations, we may see them get there legs back.

    RE: Nick, I think by “Western culture is more advanced” means it is less traditional, and this is a silly way of expressing that, if thats what the author means. “Western culture is more advanced,” I think, too, is meaningless.

  8. I apologize for my terrible typing skills.

    “more specifically” and “get their legs back”

  9. This is incredibly inaccurate; the racist undertones and barely hidden expressions of nationalism are exactly what you would expect from a narrow minded xenophobe. To say that a Westerner would never help a stranger is highly insulting and shows a complete lack of understanding of the values and beliefs of Western society. Bare in mind that Political Correctness, Equal Employment and Human Rights to name just a few are all Western concepts and whilst the West may not be perfect at least it is trying. And yes, I too am from Hong Kong.

  10. Any response to all this, Jilani? (author)

    Also, Sean wrote “it represents what Chinese are taught about China, and a very large number of them seem to accept what they are taught rather than what they see.” If what Sean writes is accurate, why would a person ignore what they actually see in their daily existence and choose to believe what they are “taught” by their government?

  11. Where are these Chinese people who are always saying ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’? All I ever meet are the ones who aggressively shove you out of the way and honk their horn at you for trying to walk on the sidewalk they’re driving on.

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