What makes China so different from the West? Why are relations between Westerners and Chinese so often characterized by disparate expectations and missed communications? And how can Israel avoid falling into the trap of thinking in narrow Western terms when dealing with Beijing?
One major difference between China and the West is that relationship networks play a far more intense and decisive role in the lives of Chinese than in the lives of Westerners. This is the case because the sense of an authentic inner self that stands on its own, independent of relationships and societal influences, is far stronger in Western culture than in Chinese culture. This might sound like a strange notion at first hearing, but it cuts to the heart of the distinctive ways in which Chinese and Westerners navigate their way through the world, including the willingness to trust those who come from outside of one’s established network of relationships.