What are the main cultural differences between China and the USA?(2)
Jessica Bolin, Born and raised in the Mid-West USA
There are lots of differences of course, but I'll put down two that I've found the most surprising:
Giving Advice: In the United States, advice is usually given only when asked for or openly solicited in some way, some subjects should only be touched by close friends, and still other topics are so touchy that people never ever try to give advice about them as a social rule. In China it seems all bets are off. Giving advice in China is an expression of care and respect, and people will take any opportunity to constantly tell me what I should do. These would only be rude by American standards of course, but it's a shocker for Americans staying in China all the same.
Ice and other cold things: In America, restaurants will give you ice in a drink even if it's snowing outside. In China, there's only one type of water to get in winter, and that's hot water. I now find hot water to be a comfort especially in unheated Chinese restaurants, but initially I thought this strange tea-without-leaves to be a bit of an odd habit. I think it may be the propagation of indoor heating in the United States but we have no problem with even getting ice cream at -20, but in China most people would not go for that. Many Chinese people I have encountered in the PRC also have a sort of phobia about eating or drinking cold things at certain times; if you have a cold or are feeling under the weather, if you're a lady on her period, or if you've just had a baby, under no circumstances should you eat or drink cold things! These concerns do not exist in the United States.
Kev Bough, Been to Bejing, Shanghai, Hanzhou, Suzhou, Shenzhen, Macau, and Hong Kong.
-Chinese people work a lot harder, Americans are more laid back (especially certain groups).
-Chinese people really love hot drinks like tea. Although there are some Americans who drink hot too, most of them prefer cold drinks. Ask for a water in American restaurants and they give you lots of ice.
-China is racially more homogeneous. Black people in China is relatively uncommon, so they often attract attention. Many Chinese also have the habit of taking pictures with white people to show their friends they found a rare kind.
-In China it’s common to ask someone else’s income. It’s considered very offensive in the States.
-China has higher ‘fat’ standard. One might be considered very fat in China, but not so in the States.
-Americans say “thank you” a lot compared to Chinese.
-Most Chinese drivers like to skip red lights when they have the chance and wouldn’t mind so when there are pedestrians crossing. American drivers give pedestrians the right of way when they can.
-Chinese people don’t hold the door open when there’s a person behind. Americans do.
-Chinese people have higher respect for the elderly than in the States.
- Americans queue more patiently.
- China has higher standard for singers. In the States, autotune is a big thing.
-Chinese society is more competitive. Students study really hard, so you have to keep up in order to survive. That is why they often get good grades in the States.
Lots depending on where you’re from.
1.Chinese culture puts emphasis on collectivism. The unity of the people is more important than the individual. In American culture, it’s the opposite. The individual is more important.
2.Harmony - Chinese culture puts emphasis on living in harmony with the universe. That’s why in Chinese paintings, you often see the bigger picture. In American paintings, the focus is often on one person or specific details. Living side by side with nature for example creates a better world and ensures survival. In American culture, you’re supposed to control nature. In doing so, America is destroying the planet from all the unnecessary buildings and pollution.
3.Truth - In Chinese culture, truth is given. If you’re an authority, people will listen to you. In American culture, truth is discovered. You have to search for it through science or other means.
4.Different foods - In Chinese culture, people no longer eat to survive. Food has become a very sophisticated art. It’s also healthy. In American culture, food is very simple. People are busy with work or school so fast food restaurants are common. As a result, it’s unhealthy.
5.Honesty - Chinese people like to save face. They don’t like confronting you because they don’t want to look bad. In American culture, it’s the opposite. Americans are very vocal.
6.One reality - In Chinese culture, everything is one reality. There’s no distinction between religion, spirituality, social life, etc. In American culture, everything is set into categories. There’s no mixing it. That’s why Americans keep their personal and professional lives separate. You don’t talk about religion or personal things on the job.
It seems alot of Chinese culture is becoming westernized nowadays so you’ll see it become closer to American culture
Louis Cohen, lives in the USA and follows the news and politics avidly
I believe that Americans in business meetings tend to be much more get-to-the-point direct. There would be a banquet afterwards only if a significant agreement were reached. I understand in China that the slightest occasion merits a banquet, perhaps even before serious negotiations begin. BTW, I am extremely fond of Chinese banquets.
There are different attitudes toward toward criminal justice. While many Americans, like I believe most Chinese, don’t care about the rights of criminal defendants, much less convicts, many Americans do.
Park Bearum, Intern at Architecture Studio
There’s obv a lot but I’ll point out a few that really struck me.
Americans do respect each other,ofc that’s not what I’m implying here.What I mean is,American people tend to have very close relationships where they would sometimes address each other with their names and just be very intimate in general unlike the Asian culture.
The elderly is just very respected here.Theyre seen as the carriers of history,they represent wisdom and intelligence.They have very close relationships with their family,too but in a different way.
2.Amount of seriousness
Asian people are very serious about certain things,like grades,health and family unlike many westerners as at some point,they like to leave people as they are.
Chinese people like to celebrate the existence of a group,they usually hang out with one unlike Americans as they’re fine as hanging out as individuals.
Chinese people are direct,they don’t hang around the bush they just tell you what they want straight away which saves time
Emily Spencer, A passionate learner that loves debating and dreaming xp
China has a much longer history of 5000 years of civilization and while USA has only got 236 years.
Throughout the 5000 years china has became a family orientated country with younger generation obeying the elder. Because of the log history, there has been a lot of rules and traditions that the Chinese have to follow.
The Americans were actually a bunch of immigrants, they rised from different cultures and ethnicity themselves, that's why they seem to be more open to new ideas in general, their creativity and open mindlessness create their culture.
Kouki Kohagura, studied at The United States of America
For me, it's family.
My dad's side of the family is Chinese, and very large and close-knit. They socialize like friends at a party, and when it comes to the elders, there is the "Keqi" which becomes super obvious at restaurants.
The younger relatives will desperately try to pay for the bill, and argue with the elder who keeps saying, "No, I'll pay!". This goes on for some minutes, unless the younger relatives manage to sneak the bill payment quickly, while the elder isn't looking...
I never see this in other peoples' families except Chinese. Even Japanese families do not have this(or at least not my mom's side which is Japanese).
Overall, family is top priority for everything with Asians. Rather than donating to charity, the preference is to give old stuff to relatives if they need it.
Joel Gilleland, Fascinated by theology, mythology, and the paradox of free will.
Broad-brush stuff. I’m talking about overall culture, individuals will often differ.
America is a ‘me’ culture. The individual is the most important unit, then the family, then the community. There is an idea that the individual deserves success and respect.
China is an ‘us’ culture. The individual is often less important than the family and wider community. It is assumed that the individual must work hard to attain success and respect.
Larry John Page, works at Disability and Disabilities
Firstly food, where the similarities would make the comparing, as the Chinese seem to talk fast as they eat, Americans prefer to eat the cooking category as, Fast Food.
The infrastructure of cities and towns, whereby China has historical links, in America the historical links are broken to be a division of Native and United.
The languages in China are linked to ancestral sayings, whereas the English predominate in America means they are currently without a historical reference that is linked to the land.
George Gonzalez, USA!, USA! most of the time, when we're not dropping bombs on poor browns.
Well in one sense, a lot-- the language, the food, the family structure, the religions, the music, the handshakes, the bows, the clothes, a lot.
But in another, more Kumbaya sense, not a lot-- everybody wants to live well, raise children, be respected, have a little fun, sleep, eat, screw, laugh, all pretty much the same things.
Enrique Pareja, logical intuitionist.
You mean apart from the language, the food, the overall idiosyncrasy of the locals, the generally accepted ideas on the role of the individual vs. society (and on how that is applied in politics), the general framework of religion and moral beliefs, the importance given to the family and the social group, the general view of the world... and a few other things?
Apart from those "details"... not many, probably.
Joe Belkin, An opinionated American.
In the US, customer service means u have can order and have it delivered to your doorstep without having to talk to anyone ... In China, customer service means 10 employees at your beck and call ...
William Ranger, Lived her for several decades. Studied a lot.
Multiplicity of writing system.
Number of languages.
Number of cultures.
Level of culture.
Depth of philosophy.
In America, the individual is the bedrock of social and cultural norms and goals.
In China, it is the group or community.
Gary Sands, Lived in Shanghai 2006-2012, lives in Vietnam, written several articles on China
Bad American behavior is controlled by guilt, bad Chinese behavior is controlled by shame.
Mas Miwa, former Engineer at Hughes Space and Communications
China: a team effort. United States: individualism.
Matt Whitby, works at Historic England
If you ask someone in China whether they want a two litre coke with their Big Mac they could probably hold off
Robert Charles Lee, Printbroker, financial printer, ex-lawyer
Having grown up in 13 different countries around the world, I have to say the country-to-country cultural differences are not tremendously important.
More important is this:—
What are YOUR OWN cultural differences with those countries?
Trying to lay out the country-to-country differences would require a book-length survey — and only worthwhile for some kind of sociological study.
For the person living and working in those countries, it’s how we the person is taking to that country’s overall culture that’s more important.
Richard I. Polis, Entrepreneur/Consultant
Probably the most important difference is that China is a classic high context society, whereas the U.S. is the exemplar of low context
If an American visits to any country in the world, they would probably miss their Mcdonalds’ chips.
If a Chinese visit to any country in the world, they would probably miss 3000years of culture.