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Shanghai (View to the West Bank)
Shanghai (View to the West Bank)

Religions, mentality and language

· Religions of China

1) China’s two main religions are Taoism and Buddhism. Of course, if you do not take into account Confucianism – about him below. Between religions there are no hard boundaries, sometimes people even profess several religions.

2) Simplified, Taoism is “cosmic order” + self-contemplation + worship of ancestors and pagan gods. In the center is the doctrine of the great Tao, the universal Law and the Absolute, the energy of the “qi” and the five elements (water, fire, wood, earth and metal). They say that Taoism combines elements of religion and philosophy.

3) Simplified, Buddhism is about “soul salvation”: “problems because we want so much,” “get rid of desires,” “getting rid of suffering.”

4) There is no visible Islam, but it is quite common in the northwestern provinces (Xinjiang, Ningxia-Hui Autonomous Region, etc.). In addition, Islam is widespread in southern China (Yunnan Province).

· Three pillars of the Chinese mentality

1) Synocentrism – to put it bluntly, the ideology that China is the cultural center of the world,

2) “Continuum” (as opposed to “discreteness”), which historically was born from the peculiarities of rice cultivation. By the way, it follows that it is easy for Chinese to make monotonous and continuous actions, but it is difficult to show explosive energy.

3) Confucianism is an ethical philosophy of “educated people for educated people”. This is more a philosophical and ethical system, but not a religion.

· Principles of Confucianism ***

Principles of Confucianism, some of the main:

1) The principle of ” xiao ” is respect for parents:

– you need to revere before the elders and realize your place in the hierarchy,

– if, after “expressing respectfulness”, only the forces remain, they can be spent on reading books,

– The son can not testify against parents (even anonymously).

2) The principle of ” whether ” – rather, it is a whole ceremony of expressing respect.

3) The principle of ” di ” is a duty, “the backbone of internal principles”. This principle may even be more important than “xiao”.

4) The principle of ” wen ” – “culture as a civilization”, “chinooshest”.

5) The principle of ” jen ” – “humanity” and “philanthropy”, which are always inherent in us. The basic moral rule is “do not impose on others what you do not want yourself.”

It can be said that Confucianism defined the moral and ethical ideal of the Chinese – “noble husband”, who thinks about duty and morality. “For good it is necessary to respond with good, for evil – with justice.” At the same time, there were some norms strange for us now:

· “Confucian” could have several wives. Sometimes the first wives asked their husbands to get their second wife, because the second wife obeys the first!

· In non-Confucian families, the girl born could literally be thrown out onto the street, in the Confucian families it was simply not very good. The girl was an unprofitable investment, as she will have to take care of her husband, and the son must take care of the parents.

Separately, I want to mention the offshoot of Confucianism, which was developed by the philosopher Meng Zi. He wrote, for example, that “an emperor who does not serve the people can lose the mandate of power.”

· Chinese

1) They say that “the Chinese consciousness determines the Chinese language”.

2) The language is very complex hieroglyphics. Even the Japanese and Koreans use Chinese hieroglyphs, which originated from the symbolic display of things in antiquity.

3) In the 1950s there was a program to simplify the hieroglyphs – before it was even more difficult.

4) The same hieroglyph can be pronounced differently in different dialects.

5) They say that for books you need to know 2 thousand hieroglyphs, for full reading – 5 thousand, and for all hieroglyphs not less than 50 thousand, and nobody knows them.

6) How to learn Chinese? It is advised not to share the study of hieroglyphs and “speaking”. The business version of the Chinese language can be learned in 2 years, if you practice 2-3 times a week.

Chinese character

Confucianism led to a pronounced manifestation among the Chinese people of the often recurring common traits of character:

1) Read older by age (for example, in Chinese you can not just say “brother”, you can say either “big brother” or “younger brother”).

2) Fidelity.

3) Honesty (sincerity, first of all – the absence of deliberate lies, that is, for example, it is possible to send a marriage, unless it was explicitly stipulated that marriage can not be sent).

4) Respect for traditions (observance of rituals).

5) Loyalty to duty (both by virtue of the position in the hierarchy, and by virtue of the law, but if there is no law, then “can be violated”).

6) Modesty (the Chinese “pester themselves”, for example, a Chinaman at Chokan will lower the glass below yours).

7) The most important is shame (in Europe – the culture of conscience, in China the main thing is how you are seen, the image of the Chinese is his self-esteem and reputation).

8) Collectivism (less than two people, they do not go anywhere, if he goes alone with you, then you are close to him).

9) There is not always self-organization (for example, the Chinese subway, at the same time two crowds come in and out, there is nowhere a warning that one can not avoid pushing in the doorway).

10) They say that the Chinese have 2 modes: strict observance of the rule and chaos.

11) Very non-direct approach to solving the problem. The Chinese will do the work in the least effective way, but in such a way as to be always busy. A Chinese can calculate in Excel without formulas, on a calculator, especially to take longer and do not sit without work.

12) The Chinese are very noisy, they like talking subjects (cars, watches, televisions – everything says).

13) They say that if you ask three questions to the Chinese, he will answer one, the simplest one.

14) I want to make a rather interesting conclusion on the topic, how can you overtake the Chinese? Their creativity is limited and this is their weakness.

The differences of Chinese character and mentality from the West are perfectly illustrated in graphic illustrations by Jan Liu. There is also an expanded picture, where the Russians are added:

Blue - West, red - China, green - Russian
Blue – West, red – China, green – Russian
Holidays and memorable days

1) They say that now is the year of the “yellow dog”, but the right year is now an “earthen dog”.

2) For the formation of the calendar there are 10 “celestial trunks” and 12 “terrestrial branches”. Once in 60 years the cycle is repeated, that is, the same year comes. The month begins on the new moon.

3) They say that there is no year of the cat, but there is a year of the mouse, that’s why cats and mice are at loggerheads.

4) The lunar year differs from the solar one, so there are leap months.

5) Chinese holidays do not have exact dates, examples: April – Day of Commemoration of the Dead (eat green dumplings), in summer – Dragon Boat Festival, in the autumn – Mid-Autumn Festival.

6) Chinese New Year:

a. This is a very big holiday! People start to prepare for it very much in advance and can completely fall out of all communications for 2 weeks, and even for a month.

b. The whole family should come together for the New Year. Required!

c. Required are 3 dishes on the table – fish (sounds like “excess”), rice dumplings (sounds like “a good year”), dumplings (sounds like a “month”, that is, “New Year”).

d. Senior give junior money in red envelopes, starting from the very first year of life.

e. The tradition of the explosion of crackers in the afternoon, after the New Year, to make a noise.

7) During mourning, sometimes imitation of money is burned, so that the dead in the next world could get better there (suddenly it would be necessary to give someone some money there).

Food and drink

1) The culture of eating is sacred. This is the most important thing that is worth remembering.

2) There are a lot of different dishes for all tastes, including, similar to taste for Russian dishes, even there is a Chinese “potato with cracklings”.

3) There are many strange rules for us (for example, during pregnancy they like to drink pork blood).

4) The Chinese do not eat alone, most dishes can not even be eaten alone. If you want to get close to the Chinese, sing with him.

5) Lunch in China – strictly at noon, late or miss – it’s very bad!

6) A Chinese usually eats only 2 times a day, lunch and dinner, without breakfast. Many Chinese people never eat at home, only catering.

7) Peanut or sesame oil is often used for frying, and not sunflower oil. This leads to the fact that in the mornings sometimes you can feel quite a specific smell.

8) Many products from Vietnam (fruits, vegetables), recently appeared products from Chile. Chilean wine is considered very high quality in China, like other Chilean products.

9) Champagne is not yet very common in China, but its consumption is expected to grow.

Etiquette and standards of propriety

1) Table etiquette – in general there are no strict rules, but, for example, you can not stick sticks in rice vertically and can not be eaten! If you have eaten up to the end, this is an insult (little cooked?). Tea, too, can not be drunk to the end. You ate => sit over a full plate.

2) For the Chinese, drinking is not very important. You can drink beer at the wedding. Usually they do not utter toasts or drink together. Instead of clinking glasses, you can knock on the table. Usually clink glasses 1 to 1, it’s important to keep the glass below than the more important one. A director can make a young employee drink for himself. You can not drink to the bottom. But if you said “gangbei”, then they drink to the bottom.

3) It is important to compete to pay. Who invited, he pays. Friends pay in turns. Even if it’s clear who will pay, there must still be a “fight”

4) Gifts and favors. You can not come to visit empty-handed. Presenting, they are waiting for a gift in return. Instead of a culture of gratuitousness (like ours) – a culture of reciprocity.

5) You can not give a watch (it sounds like the end) and shoes (it sounds like evil). But you can give a doctor’s sausage. Girls give flowers rarely.

6) Respect requires that we give everything and submit it with both hands. If a Chinese person greets you with both hands, he wants to uplift you, if one, then he considers himself more important.

7) Rules of decency. There is no such thing as a dress code. You can blow your nose loudly, come in your pajamas to the supermarket or even to a restaurant.

8) Paradise for smokers, you can smoke everywhere, even in elevators. If there is no ashtray, then they throw the bulls on the floor, it can be done even on the office parquet.

9) The Chinese often spit, even in the premises.

10) You can easily and without shame “spoil the air” in the premises.

11) All clothing for babies – with a cut from the back. A child can make a need for everyone in an urn.

Health, sport and beauty

1) Medical insurance. Free medicine – there is, however, the coverage is not very good and the big queues.

2) Chinese medicine – does not cancel the traditional. In public hospitals, one and the same patient is treated simultaneously and traditionally, and “popularly” (example – first tomography, then decoction of snakes).

3) Why do the Chinese have no success in football? Collective sports remind “army for army”, but the Chinese do not have fighting spirit, they have not won a single war. The Chinese are doing well, where a lot of skill is needed.

4) Gymnastics in the streets. Pensioners in parks, and sometimes directly on the streets.

5) In China valued leanness and harmony (including for men). Unfortunately, it happens that not only fat is removed, but even bone fiber is cut from the cheekbones.

6) In China there is a saying “White is beautiful” (originated from when the poor worked in the fields and were sunburnt). Aristocrats – very white. All cosmetics with whitening effect. They like to walk under umbrellas, and on the beaches they completely cover the body. Chinese women go in mini-skirts in the winter, and not in the summer, and under them they put on warm pantyhose.

7) The average height of the Chinese is now 172 cm, the Chinese woman – 160 cm (in Russia, for comparison, it is 177 and 164 cm). They say that 100 years ago these values ​​were 10 cm less.


1) In a life the communist ideology is not especially felt – the Chinese are apolitical (politics can not be influenced).

2) The Communist Party (CCP) has a high quality of people. Simple people perceive the Communist Party as a dynasty. Communist ideology exists in parallel with traditional religions and no one closes the temples.

3) I was once allowed to live in a “party hotel”. Giant, but empty building with a Soviet entourage.

4) They say that the CCP is a “two-party business school” (Shanghai, Beijing).

5) Recently, it was removed the restriction that the two terms of the political leader of the party – this is the maximum. In practice, this means that the authority of Xi Jinping has become too much, but, nevertheless, it is not his personal gain, but the strengthening of the group behind him.

6) On the problem of Uighurs – they are regarded as “small terrorists” (sometimes they attack with machetes), they are suppressed.

7) In China, there are often mass strikes. For example, residents striked against taxi drivers, who cared for large and small need in flower beds under the windows of residents.

8) Now Taiwan has become very close to China – much closer than Japan.

9) After Trump came to power in the US, a number of countries in Latin America (Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Cuba) became much more reluctant to treat the US, many countries. These countries have reoriented to China. Chinese investments in the region are estimated at more than $ 200 billion, although a substantial part of this money has returned to Chinese companies in exchange for supplying products.

10) Chinese loans and investments in Ecuador are greater than in Russia. But, maybe, it’s not so bad, because in fact Ecuador was sold to the Chinese as a country.

11) Similar tricks did not take place in Europe, there are not many such “strange” Chinese investments there. For the sake of justice, the Chinese bought the largest port of Greece (Piraeus) last year, as well as a number of other infrastructure facilities.

12) When the Chinese can take something, they take it – for example, large areas in the Far East of Russia.

13) Not very good relations with India, are manifested both at the business level and at the political level. Or maybe there is a military conflict between India and China in the Maldives, where a military coup is going on quietly.


1) China has a gender disproportion – parents wanted to have a boy and women became few. As a result, women began to appreciate much more. It often happens that men cook and clean in the house, and the wives lie on the couch and rest (this is manifested in the south of China, and in the north – more traditionally, they say that women in the south of China are even worse looking after themselves).

2) The rule “One child in the family” (by the way, has already been abolished) has led to the fact that modern children have grown spoiled (all, boys and girls)

3) In China, the ideal of the Chinese is a learned official.

a. It is very important to get a good education.

b. The principle “learn by heart” – everyone can read the same text in chorus. At school, you need to shout louder, otherwise you will not hear (by the way, so the Chinese are very noisy).

c. Collectivism in learning. You can even sit next to you and not talk, but it will still be considered “learn together.”

d. I can not do it, I did not try very hard. Zeal is equal to the result, so there are teenage suicides, tk. they can not cope with studies.

4) The desire for luxury goods is very great.

5) “Enter the elite” was possible, but only a very long way through the constant increase in education and work for the state. service. However, on this way there was a lot of competition and a lot of temptations – to go into commercial activities, to stay in some quiet place, etc. Still needed was a certain amount of luck and luck – for example, the departure of the boss, or some kind of global turmoil that could lead to a shake-up of the elites. By the way, in more modern times there were a number of well-known party figures from the “families of the rural intelligentsia.”


1) Attitude towards money. Money is always good, the more of them, the better. Praying about wealth is normal. To give money is normal. A Chinese, even a poor man, will always save money. Many cars – with stickers about money.

2) Chinese people like to buy apartments. But housing has been built so many that there are even empty cities. By the way, while we have 24 “squares” per person on average, then in China – all 36, that is, one and a half times more (source: /content_30025942.htm ). Another question is that in China, too, there are some statistical characteristics – roughly speaking, a part of rural remote settlements may not fall into statistics at all and not spoil it. And, of course, there is a lot of empty, newly built housing, which increases the total footage per person, but for various reasons, while idle.

3) What can not be done in business negotiations? Hard to press and show on some punctures (“jambs”). Very important is the concept of “person” and the ability to “save face”, so you can not say directly that “you deceived me”; it is important to give everyone a face.

4) The well-known Chinese manner of negotiating is to send out a chain of people who do not make decisions. Even the CEO can be incompetent, but only the owner.

5) Generally speaking, it is better to negotiate with the Chinese through his fellow countryman, so it is very important to find out from which region the boss is.

6) It is important to visit the factory on site, while taking a technologist with you.

7) What is a good career for a Chinese? Historically, they are subordinates (“to take a position higher”). Now the money (“10 thousand yuan”) came to the fore.

8) You can bargain everywhere, even for fines, even for corporate fines (officially!)

9) In normal practice, it is customary to pay everything forwards and for many years.

10) Work and salary. The average salary in Russia is 35,000 rubles. , in China – 70 thousand rubles., But this statistics does not fall all the rural population. Now the urban population is more than 50%, in the villages there is little work.

11) The Chinese started manufacturing in Cambodia and Vietnam.

12) In fact, not everything in the economy is cloudless. Probably, there is a huge, but still hidden, problem of regions’ crediting. They also talk about the distortion of statistical reporting (although, in the direction of understatement, rather than overstating, as we do).

13) Chinese business is very active now expanding to Africa (the concept of “resources in exchange for investment”), while it is allowed to give bribes abroad.

14) The term “get away from the problem” is sometimes understood literally – a Chinese can simply take and leave on an unpleasant question.

Venture capital

1) The first international venture funds appeared in China in the early 1980s, when the Chinese authorities gradually began to increase the degree of economic freedom.

2) According to Preqin as of May 2017, there were 266 venture funds in operation in China (46 of them in Hong Kong), capital – $ 54 billion.

3) The most active investors in the number of venture capital transactions for 2017: CDIB Capital (private equity investor), Shanghai S & T Venture Capital (government agency), Hunan TV and Broadcast Intermediary (corporation), Tencent (corporation), China Development Bank Capital funds).

4) If we talk about the size of venture capital assets under management, then the banks of China Construction Bank and Postal Savings Bank of China come to the fore. This is followed by China Investment Corporation (sovereign fund), Ping An Insurance Group (insurance company) and State Administration of Foreign Exchange (sovereign fund).

5) If we talk about the largest venture funds, then this is China State-Owned Capital Venture Investment Fund ($ 29 billion under management), Shanghai Integrated Circuit Investment Fund, Guangxi Beibu Gulf Industrial Investment Fund, Baidu Capital, SummitView IC Industry Fund.

6) There are also “unicorns” in China (companies with a capitalization of more than $ 1 billion). Here, first of all, mention Finteh Ant Financial and the taxi service Didi Chuxing. In general, China is now in second place in unicorns after the United States, severely detached from all other countries.

Unicorns in the United States and China
Unicorns in the United States and China

1) As mentioned above, the training system in China is largely built on cramming and performing monotonous tasks.

2) There are several very interesting features and own practices. For example, we all know how to multiply “in a column,” but the Chinese have their own visual method associated with drawing lines. Type in YouTube “Chinese way of multiplication” and you will be surprised.


1) Infrastructure is heavily congested. Before the New Year – a crush everywhere, even sell standing places in long-distance trains.

2) Technology is everywhere, the nation has made a rapid transition “from the plow to the smartphone.” People of the older generation have no fear of technology.

3) There are many multi-level highways and interchanges, sometimes up to 5 levels. In general, there are a lot of multi-level roads that build on existing roads, like a puff cake.

Five-level interchange
Five-level interchange
4) Many toll roads. It is interesting that the fare with the passage of time does not increase, but decreases (if the road itself has paid off, you can reduce the cost)

5) The numbers for cars are not provided automatically, but are played out – sometimes you can wait up to a year.

6) They build a lot, and at a crazy pace, but not always in the right places.

7) Toilets are in all points of cities. They are free and there are everywhere (it is interesting that the paper at the same time – paid).

8) Buses often go to red.

9) Environmental problems, unfortunately, are still being preserved, although the number of harmful industries is actively decreasing in China. Sometimes the plant can stop for many months, so that the owner will make those. rearmament.

10) The size of production in China is simply grandiose, for example:

a. Steel smelting in China is 800 million tons, almost the same as in the rest of the world, taken together and 10 times more than in Russia (data from 2016),

b. Very large installed capacity of renewable energy sources. If we take only windmills (165 GW) and solar power stations (125 GW), then their installed capacity in China has already exceeded the installed capacity of the entire electric power industry in Russia (240 GW), even taking into account all nuclear power plants and hydroelectric power stations,

c. High-speed railways: in China already 25 thousand km and 16 thousand km is under construction. This is approximately 30 times more than in Russia. Moreover, it is more than in the rest of the world combined. At the same time, the train, which travels far beyond 300 km / h, will not even splash tea.

11) Although they talk about the “robotization” of industries, manual labor is actively used to reduce costs in so many places. Dial “Chinese Playing Cards Factory” in Youtube and you will understand what it means to quickly work with your hands.

12) Already about 20 years all counters of municipal services in cities automatically transmit testimony.

13) Pension in China comes from 70ty years.

Attitude towards foreigners

1) Attitude towards foreigners. They can ask questions unceremoniously (for example, how much do you get, “why are you black?” To the faces of the Negroid race).

2) They think that Russian speakers say “in Soviet”, and not “in Russian.”

3) The Chinese do not know English well, and are afraid to disgrace themselves that they do not know English. If a Chinese person knows English, he may not even know anything else. “Monospecialization” of people means that the average Chinaman will specialize only in one thing – either in language or in professional activity. Therefore, for example, if many people speak English at the plant, then this plant is more likely not the best.

4) Foreigners are divided into three types: English-speaking, Asian and Russian. The Russian attitude is better with the older generation. Attitudes toward Russians are better than for Americans (by the way, Americans pay even more for a Chinese visa). You can even say that the Chinese love Putin.


(*) The lecture is called ” Modern China: values, traditions and lifestyle ” and is held in the center of levelvan . In the same center there is another very interesting lecture on China – ” Confucianism: the history of one Chinese ” by Konstantin Mikhailov – a religious scholar, historian, teacher and public lecturer. I recommend both lectures for visiting all interested in China.

(**) Vladimir Tikhonov is an Orientalist, a graduate of the Shanghai University and the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University. He is the author of a number of scientific works on Oriental studies and Chinese economics. For several years he lived and worked in China.

(***) In the preparation of the section on Confucianism, lectures by Konstantin Mikhailov were used.

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