Your comments remind me of a couple of other attributes that belong in the mix. In common with some nearby Asian countries China too seem se display a stark lack of that personal 'individuality' that western cultures not only celebrate, but neglect at their peril. Not so in China. Individuality seems almost to be frowned upon. Offences against "Public Order" rate among the most readily punished behaviors. Regimentation seems prized, to degrees that can astonish Westerners. An outstanding example is coordinated and synchronized mass displays such as at sporting events and national celebrations. It would not matter whether there were 12 identically outfitted and choreographed performers, or 12 thousand, their precision would be the same, like one performer in thousands of mirrors. This takes incredible dedication and discipline, yet Asians seem to take that in their stride better than we with our maverick western individuality can. We really have to work at it.<quoted text>
Interesting. I remember that comment as well from somewhere, wish I could remember who said it.
I also remember having to quell my rising gorge whilst watching the Chinese commentator at the Beijing Olympics literally choke on tears of pride as her countrymen and women marched around the stadium. It was very strange to watch. The other commentators looked at her oddly as well, as I recall. Her emotional response was so over the top that it seemed a bit nuts.
National pride seems to be everything - as if they are only good little soldiers in service of their country. I can see the link between nationalism and racism in China, but how on earth would it have become so entrenched that they cannot see it themselves?
Now the question arises, is all this Asian cultural regimentation beneficial? Is it all simply synchronization for its own sake, or does it have actual spin-off benefits? Somehow I doubt the latter. I believe such regimentation of action reflects regimentation of thought, putting innovation further out of reach than would otherwise be the case. Typically, Chinese seem to blossom inventively more in western environments that encourage that.
My other point is sure to tread on a few toes but ... "publish & be damned". The sheer enormity of Chinese Population seems to have a "life is cheap" effect on their system of values. When poor industrial safety standards enable a mine collapse to snuff out the lives of some 50 miners at a stroke, there seems almost a national shrug of the shoulders as if to say "plenty more where they came from". Untimely losses of life seem readily absorbed by a populace of some 1.5 Billion. One gets the feeling that Chinese by & large take Human life more for granted and expendable than we do. "Autistic" lack of Empathy can be afforded when one has an inexhaustible supply of lives available.
By contrast, Australia with its puny little 23 million is such an intimate village that every life begun or ended makes more of an impact, and is valued more accordingly.