Posts Tagged 'tradition'

Why no backlash?

It’s been remarked by some of our readers that there hasn’t been so much of a public backlash against the milk companies for their tainted products. This pretty much seems the case to us, as far as we can tell in our daily life. One possible reason is that Chinese citizens do not share the same rights as we are used to in the States. They cannot make public demonstrations, or publish unapproved editorials in newspapers. Any motion toward public protest must first be approved by the authorities, which is a severe limit on what the public response can achieve.

Culturally speaking, Chinese also have a very indirect tradition of expressing their opinions and viewpoints. We feel very different in this regard, especially when trying to have straightforward conversation with our new friends. There is so much back and forth that seems unnecessary to us, but it is the Chinese way. The process is given much more precedence than the result, whereas we just want to get to the point! This is a classic cultural difference, which we don’t think is wrong by any means, just very new to us. This also helps us to understand the public response to the milk problem.

The other reason that comes to mind that there is little public backlash is that Chinese typically trust their government to do the right thing. This is a one party system- there will only be one response to any given problem, and in a way that seems to make it the correct response. Again, there’s not so much room for public debate in China. People may air grievances in approved ways, but the solutions to their problems seems to come from the top down.

There will likely be plenty of investigation of the causes behind the tainted milk distribution, and some heavy-handed punishment. But for the majority of the billion citizens here, life goes on as usual.

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