Discover the History of Guanxi

March 11, 2014

I first heard of Guanxi from the China Law Blog, which referred to the Silicon Hutong Blog.

After reading the China Law Blog’s post, I did more research and also watched a few videos on the subject.

I learned that Guanxi is an aspect of Chinese culture that does not translate easily.

There are several elements and layers to Guanxi. First, Guanxi is based on a Confucian hierarchy of familial relationships, long-term friendships, classmates, and schoolmates and to those no stranger—Chinese or foreign—will ever have access to. (Silicon Hutong)

Guanxi evolved over the millennia because China didn’t have a stable and effective legal system. In fact, the legal system in China today is relatively new and made its appearance after the 1982 Chinese Constitution was established.

Since 1982, there have been several amendments to the Constitution as China adapts its evolving legal system.

In time, this legal system may replace Guanxi since business law modeled on Western law with Chinese characteristic is developing faster than civil law.

Through the centuries, merchants in China needed a way to avoid disputes and problems in the absence of a well-developed legal system. To survive, this complex system called Guanxi developed with many components such as partnerships, trust, credibility, etc.

Guanxi developed organically in civil society due to the absence of a uniform, government mandated legal system, and maintaining Guanxi is different than how relationships are maintained in other cultures. The embedded video with this post offers a more detailed explanation.

The China Law Blog’s had more than twenty comments, and it was a lively discussion worth reading if you are interested in discovering more on this topic.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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The facts (and the truth) behind China’s #1 International PISA Test Scores

January 28, 2014

On December 4, 2013, a New York Times headline shouted: “Shanghai Students Again Top Global Test”, and once again, America’s vocal critics of the U.S. Public Schools called for more reform.

Not so fast. In fact, maybe not at all.

In China, the first nine years of education is compulsory starting before age 7. Primary school takes the first six of those nine years; then there’s middle school for grades 7, 8, and 9.

Fifteen is the age of students who take the international PISA test—and in China [so-called] compulsory education ends at the age of fifteen and students who decide to stay in school have a choice between a vocational or academic senior high school track. That’s where the choice ends because in China the senior high schools pick students based on merit.

To explain how this works, the CCP has acknowledged a “9-6-3 rule”. This means that nine of ten children began primary school between the ages of 6 and 7; six complete the first five years and three graduate from sixth grade with good performance.

By the time a student reaches senior high school—grades 10, 11, and 12—most enrollment is in the cities and not in rural China. Most rural Chinese don’t value education as much as urban Chinese do. And many of the migrant urban workers from rural China still have some family back in the village where they often leave their younger children. And many migrant workers, when they retire from factory work, return to the village and the family home.

The United States, by comparison, keeps most kids in school until the end of high school at age 17/18. About 75% graduate on time and another 15% earn their high school diploma or equivalent GED by age 24—all on an academic track because there is no vocational public schools k to 12 in the U.S.

In addition, in China there is the Zhongkao, the Senior High School Entrance Examination, held annually to distinguish the top students who then are admitted to the highest performing senior high schools. This means that if the highest rated high school in Shanghai has 1,000 openings for 10th graders, the students who earn the top 1,000 scores on the Zhongkao get in and then the second highest rated high school takes the next batch of kids until the lowest rated senior high school in Shanghai gets the kids with the bottom scores on the Zhongkao.

Maybe actual numbers will help clarify what this means:

In 2010, 121 million children attended China’s primary schools with 78.4 million in junior and senior secondary schools. The total is 199.4 million kids.

According to World Education News & Reviews: “In 2010, senior high schools [in China] accommodated 46.8 million students (23.4% of the  199.5 million). But about 52 percent or only 40.8 million were enrolled in general senior high school, and 48 percent of those students were attending vocational senior high schools.”

That leaves 21.2 million enrolled in the senior high school academic track designed to prep kids for college—that’s 10.6% of the total. Then consider that Shanghai’s public schools are considered the best in China. This means that the fifteen-year-old students who take the international PISA in China are the elite of the elite attending China’s best public schools.

For a fair comparison—not what we’ll hear from the critics of public education in the United States—the Economic Policy Institute reports: “The U.S. administration of the most recent international (PISA) test resulted in students from the most disadvantaged schools being over-represented in the overall U.S. test-taker sample. This error further depressed the reported average U.S. test score. … But U.S. students from advantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the top-scoring countries [Canada, Finland, South Korea, France, Germany and the U.K.]” and “U.S. students from disadvantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the three similar post-industrial countries.”

In fact, “U.S. students from advantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the top-scoring countries of Finland and Canada. … and—on average—for almost every social class group, U.S. students do relatively better in reading than in math, compared to students in both the top-scoring and the similar post-industrial countries.”

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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The Home Song Stories: a movie review

January 1, 2014

The Home Song Stories, based on a true story, stars Joan Chen as Rose. Joan Chen was born into a family of doctors and educated in China during the Mao era; she is considered the Elizabeth Taylor of China and delivers a powerful performance in this film, which won a slew of foreign awards.  Rose is a lost soul with two children who moves to Australia after marrying an Australian sailor she meets in Hong Kong.

In 2007, the film won awards from the Australian Film Institute; awards from the Golden Horse Film Festival; the Hawaii International Film Festival; the Torino International Festival of Young Cinema, and in 2008, it won the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award.

The film is set in the late 1960s, and the Australian sailor turns out to be an admirable character. See the film to discover why.

Later in the film, it is revealed that at sixteen Rose was sold to become a concubine to an older man, but she fell in love with her master’s younger brother, an artist, and they run off. A few years later, the love of Rose’s life dies from tuberculosis. To survive, Rose becomes a night-club singer who takes a string of lovers. The story is told from her young son’s point of view. Rose’s daughter is a teenager for most of the film.

Discover Not One Less, a film produced in China that went on to win eighteen international film awards. At the Venice Film Festival, it won the Golden Lion Award, the highest prize given to a film at this festival.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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China’s Authoritarian Cyber Crackdown versus America’s Democratic Culture of Complaint

December 24, 2013

Although I think it is impossible to totally control bullies in any culture, ABC News reports that China’s “government has declared victory in cleaning up what it considers rumors, negativity and unruliness from online discourse, while critics say the moves have suppressed criticism of the government and ruling Communist Party.”

But what if China’s critics are wrong andin this case—are really bullies wearing the clothing of democracy activists attempting to get their troll mojo back on?

After all, bullies exist in China too. China Daily reports: “In China, cyber-bullying is still perceived by many parents and educators as a problem that involves physical contact. However, as cell phones and laptops are becoming common equipment for adolescents, social interactions have increasingly moved from personal contact to virtual contact. Cyber-bullying is spreading faster than expected.”

So here is China’s government claiming they have now tamed the wild west atmosphere of cyber space—something that would be impossible to attempt in the United States because of the 1st Amendment that protects the rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference that has led to a “Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America,” as Publisher’s Weekly.com reports, “Euphemism, evasion and propaganda are woven into the fabric of American public discourse, declares Time art critic Hughes.”

In addition, Connie Cass writing for the Associated Press says: “In God we trust, maybe, but not each other. … For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy—trust in the other fellow—has been quietly draining away [as] hackers and viruses and hateful posts eat away at trust.”

What is a civil form of freedom of expression? Democracy Web.org says that “The essence of freedom of expression, of course, is not the right to insult the beliefs of others, but rather the freedom to report or convey facts, opinions, philosophies, and worldviews in an effective manner, using both objective and subjective means. Freedom of expression empowers citizens through knowledge, opinion, and the possibility to gain their own voice.”

Is it possible that China’s benevolent authoritarian government working hard to censor “rumors, negativity and unruliness” will prevail while too much freedom of expression in the United States will lead to anarchy and the end of democracy?

The answer to that question might already have been answered by one of America’s Founding Fathers. John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence [and the 2nd President of the United States], who championed the new Constitution in his state precisely because it would not create a democracy. “Democracy never lasts long,” Adams said. “It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.” He insisted: “There was never a democracy that ‘did not commit suicide.’” Source: What the Founding Fathers really thought about democracy

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

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Investing in Education: China vs. the United States

September 19, 2013

China is making HUGE investments in education. In 1998, then-President Jiang Zemin called for a massive increase in enrollment in higher education. Since then, high school and college enrollments in China grew. Source: FP-Foreign Policy, April 14, 2010

For example: China’s enlarged enrollment to higher education started in 1999, which boasted China’s shift in higher education from elite higher education to mass higher education. The enrollment to colleges/universities increased by 42 percent, compared to the year of 1998. Source: All Academic.com

Then in March 2013, Premier Wen Jiabao announced that China’s expenditures on education had reached 4% of GDP in 2012, a goal set almost twenty years earlier. “Government spending on education totaled 7.79 trillion yuan over the past five years, increasing at an average annual rate of 21.58 percent to reach 4 percent of the GDP in 2012,” Wen said in his annual work report delivered to deputies to the top legislature. (7.79 trillion yuan is equal to $1.25 trillion). Source: China Daily

For example, during the 1967-1985 period, total government expenditure on education averaged 2% of GNP, and 7.7% of the total national budget. Source: Columbia.edu

One result: The overall literacy rate has gone from 20% in 1950 to 92.2% of the total population today.

Compared to China, in the United States, education spending peaked in 1976 at 5.9% of GDP before dropping to flat line at about 5.5% annually.

In China, more than thirty percent graduate with degrees in engineering or technology. But in the United States, only five percent of university students graduate in these fields, while U.S. universities produce more psychologists.

That is why President Obama has encouraged American students to study science. Source: White House

What’s going to happen if America’s students do not start working hard to become engineers and scientists?

In 2040, the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion, or nearly three times the economic output of the entire globe in 2000.  It’s a fact that people with an education in engineering and science earn more and are more productive.  China and India combined are turning out more than 600,000 engineers a year—ten times that of the United States. Source: Rocketry Planet

Discover China’s Holistic Historical Timeline

_______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

Subscribe to “iLook China”!
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


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