We’re in China! Part 2

The first day of our China program began yesterday. We started the
morning at a local university (Tsinghua in Beijing) where we heard a
lecture from an Oxford educated communications professor about the
subtle differences for those who seek to do business in China. The
lecture was very enlightening. As my background is in Anthropology, it
was of particular interest to me. Our professor used several
references I was familiar with. The first was Yan Fu and his work on
duality. The concept of “respect” is as important to the Chinese as is
“fairness” to Westerners. While the two overlap in some places,
they’re completely opposed in other settings.

Other important notes on culture are that the Chinese are predisposed
to hierarchy, relationships to the past, and a harmony with existing
nature. These are very different from Westerners who prefer equality,
the present, and a utilitarian approach to the natural world. I won’t
go too much further into it except to say that it is an important
concept when considering business in China. These soft concepts may
seem obvious to some, but their exists a great deal of depth in these
concepts, especially if doing business in China is necessary for your
employ. On a lighter note, our hotel rooms are cold, because there
exists a law that heaters cannot be turned on after March 15th! Also,
I am emailing this post in, because our blog service is blocked in
China. Old world vs. new world?

After a traditional lunch, we spent the afternoon at the Forbidden
City doing some sightseeing. It’s a beautiful palace, which I enjoyed.
Sightseeing has been incredible in itself. Several of my classmates
have different itineraries around classes in Beijing. My group took an
overnight train to Xian, which was the ancient capital of the country.
We spent 3 days sightseeing in the interior, which was great fun. This
included some quality time bonding as a group which was really
valuable. It was a needed break from the stress of a job search in a
down market!

Today we’re going on a company visit to prominent technology company,
where we’ll listen to a talk from senior management. I am definitely

See you soon.