Mainland Chinese culture vs. Overseas Chinese - main differences?
April 3, 2016 11:32 PM   Subscribe

I have a fair bit of experience with Chinese culture as it exists in Canada (Vancouver) and Malaysia. I am about to be immersed in the culture of mainland China (Nanjing). What differences should I be aware of?

I'd love any and all tips. Some specific things I am wondering about:

1) Impact of Cultural Revolution - will I see less of the temples / ancestor worship / shrines there due to the CR? Or is that all pretty much insignificant and forgotten now?

2) Cultural taboos - the bulk of stuff I see when searching for this relate to politics - i.e., don't talk about Tibet / Taiwan / East Turkestan as entities deserving status as independent nations. Is that really it? I have spoken to a couple of Chinese here in Malaysia and they couldn't come up with anything else that would be really important to not do.
posted by Meatbomb to Society & Culture (2 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You'll definitely see less shrines and folk religions than as compared to outside of mainland China, although there's been a resurgence in the past decade and you can still see the practices coming back in villages. Adding to your subject of taboos to discuss is the cultural revolution - if anyone wants to bring it up and talk about it, let them do it.

Agree with staying away from the politics discussions or implying any sort of Chinese inferiority. Japan is a decent topic to stay away from as well, particularly in Nanjing.

In terms of social interactions, you may also find that overseas Chinese may have less-than-positive views on mainland Chinese people, in particular as to how mainland Chinese people "act." Common complaints are behaviors such as spitting/snot rockets in the streets, having "entitled" or "selfish" attitudes, line skipping, chain smoking, complaints that they're loud and travel in hordes to tourist locations etc.

Outside of that, your standard cultural taboos as to Chinese culture that you can find on the internet are pretty much the same, overseas or mainland.
posted by Karaage at 7:37 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes, don't engage in any political statements (pro democracy, Tibet, territorial demands etc.). I heard members of the party speak terrible about their government. But you should not do it.

As a laowei you have nearly complete freedom. Any mistakes or rude behavior will be ignored (stupid laowei).

1. Yes. Many things destroyed. But still a lot to see.

2. Cultural taboos. Dont ever stick your chopsticks into the rice bowl.

You don't write what you are going to do there. Vancouver Chinese are more westernized. I don't want to sound racist or something. I love China. But Chinese cheat. Remember that in business. Always remember the story of the Scorpion and the Frog.

And don't forget: In any queue, no matter if in the subway, restaurant, post office, anywhere, try to cut in line! You already waited half an hour and there is no only one more customer before you? Best chance to cut in line. It is now or never. Play dumb and just try to get in front of him. It is your god given right!
posted by yoyo_nyc at 7:40 AM on April 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

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