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It may seem that modernization may have brought two cultures, the American and Chinese, into looking the same, but, there are great differences. China uses the ideology of Confucianism while America is under Christianity. On one hand, Confucianism seems to be an ethical system that deals with human behavior as well as conduct. Confucius, the founder, expressed concerns with how people behaved with each other. As a result, he came up with a system of government, society as well as justice which is referred to as Confucianism. Confucius held the belief that it is natural for individuals to have the desire to have company, that is, to live in a society. Through the society, one can fully develop. So, individuals should learn how to live in the company of others (Liang, 1903). This is what the Chinese society bases itself upon.
Confucius believed that each individual had a place in the society as well as duties to fulfill. He came up with five principal relationships, that is, a friend and friend; father and son; ruler and subject; husband and wife; and, elder brother and younger brother. He also placed great importance on the family, which was seen as a training space for life in society. The government was also seen as an extension of the family. The emperor and other officials were seen as the parents of the people. People had to be loyal to the government just as they are to the family (Liang 1903). This is how most Chinese live and believe in.
On the other hand, Christianity is a religion with many ideologies on how to live here on earth. However, the state has always distanced itself from religion such as Christianity. Most followers of Jesus Christ believe that they were given the mandate to live here on earth the way Christ did. Each one is responsible for his or her action and hence punishment will be given on judgment day. The family is seen as the basis of the society, but the parents are the ones responsible for their well-being as well as moral upbringing. Christians believe that we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. God created mankind for them to freely love him. They believe that man could be free to choose not to do God's will.
The Americans hold different views about the Chinese people. There are those who have travelled over to china and experienced the vastness of china as well as the culture. According to Smith, there are also those who gain knowledge on the Chinese culture by studying their ballads, plays as well as novels. Smith holds the view that in the Chinese ellipse, money as well as food, are the twin foci and the whole social life of the Chinese revolves around the two (Arthur 1900, 195). There is a social war in China. The Chinese people are sickened of what is going on.
According to Smith, the question that is being asked about the Chinese is whether they have any patriotism. The Chinese have a strong feeling of nationality; this shown among the literary classes. That is why they somehow show hostility to the foreigners as well as their inventions.pg 111. The Chinese people have the desire to serve their country. They may even show patriotism without showing interest the fortunes of a Tartar Dynasty like the present, there is presence of a feeling of profound indifference (Arthur, 1900, 112). The Chinese have perfectly brought the practice of politeness unknown in America or the Western world.
Smith seems to be looking on the Chinese as a lesser people, he can be observed as genuinely caring about them as well as their well-being. He tends to criticize some things and praise others. For example, he mentions that there are some aspects of the Chinese culture that the West could emulate or learn from. Smith is quoted as saying that, "those who recognize that moral and spiritual forces ultimately rule the world, will increasingly feel that the West owes it to the East to pay back a part of its age-long debt by helping to lay the foundations of an Oriental Christian civilization." Smith has always been inclined to follow the Western values as well as Christian and missionary ideologies.
On the other hand, Liang has mixed reaction about the complex civilization of the United States. He admired the founding spirit as well as the basic constitutional structure of the American policy. However, he feels disappointed by the many of their practices, for example, corruption, the economic power of the trusts, corruption, in addition to the juxtaposition of glittering riches as well as the awful poverty. He did not agree with the problems that are being caused by the huge influx of immigrants. He says that the American political system is unmatched all over the world. Moreover, there are two kinds of government, as well as, two kinds of patriotism amongst the Americans.
However, he thinks that there is tension between the two types of government. This American democracy needed centralization.83. More recent Chinese visitors have viewed that Americans are polite. They use words like thank you and please, even to strangers. However, most of the Chinese who came to the US viewed it as an alienated society. They also took little note of the religious factor of the Americans. When the century started, most Christian missionaries in China were from the US.
The Chinese also hold the view that Americans are cautious about small matters but immoral about huge ones. Moreover, they have also been sensitive about the inequality that exists in the American society. There are those who live in extreme luxury while others are poor in the ghetto. In addition, racism is also seen as a huge inequality. Liang has also noted that the American capitalism is going to replace England's, and could as well surpass or overwhelm the international geopolitics.
Many Chinese people are impressed by the dynamism as well as the vigor present in individual Americans. They also see the American life as that being isolated and lonely. They see the Americans as being conservative, open minded and immoral which make them self-indulge in pleasure and hence blinds them to their moral obligations. Moreover, the legal system has been seen to over protect the rights of criminals. This has been seen as the major threat to social anarchy. They see the American family in two ways. Some see it as being cohesive while others view it as being unethical and fragile; the old are neglected. This is different from the Chinese family where the old and young live under one roof. Liang in his descriptions of the United States rejected the vulgarity as well as the many evils of the American democratic life.
In conclusion, it is important to note that culture changes over time; cultural values that are inherited do change over time. William Geil and Arthur Smith are two writers who were raised from the United States, a nation where Christianity has shaped how people thought about God, Character as well as Conscience. On the other hand, Liang Qichao and Hu Shi came from China, a nation where Confucianism shaped how most people thought about the spirit world in addition to social hierarchies based on age, gender as well as status.