Chapter 6: Chinese Culture
Page 129 6— Chinese Culture Introduction Regardless of what the Western world thinks and says about the Chinese, it must be acknowledged that China is the world's oldest civilization among cultures existing today. Many of its old values are still preserved. Modern Greeks and Egyptians bear little cultural resemblance to their ancient forebears (Yang, 1991, p. 7). China is an ancient civilization. During the Chou Dynasty (1122 B.C. to 256 B.C.) the wheel, wire saw, diamond drill, and the crossbow were developed. In mathematics and astronomy, the Chinese were at times ahead of the Western civilization. The Pythagorean theorem of geometry was developed in China at about the same time that it developed in Greece, approximately 400 B.C. At about the same time, the Chinese mapped approximately 1500 stars, 200 years before Hipparchus mapped about onehalf that number (Harris and Moran, 1979, p. 309). China survived when other civilizations vanished. After many years of isolation, stagnation and internal turmoil, China is once again asserting its importance in the international community and the urge to understand the Chinese has gained a new impetus. In this effort, many Westerners claim that Chinese behaviour is confusing, unprofessional and seemingly inappropriate (Chu, 1991, p. 11). This opinion is probably more often than not a reflection of the attitudes of some Western businesspeople and politicians to measure the whole universe by Western standards (ibid., p. 11). Western management principles must certainly be challenged to do business in Asia in general and with the Chinese...
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