I ended my 6-day (150 hours) trip in United States of America.
During the trip, I had the opportunity to drive to many places in the Silicon Valley on Saturday, and had the honor to be invited to two typical American homes, and chatted with guys from different companies, include MBA class of Stanford University… We have the opportunity to talk on the difference between the two great countries: United States of America, and the People’s Republic of China.
The more I talked, the more I feel we need a bridge between the two countries, seriously. Not one bridge, but thousands of bridges that connects the two country and help to promote mutual understanding.
People in U.S. Don’t Understand China
It is clear that people in U.S. are interested in China, but based on the limited information on newspapers, TV, and even on Internet, it is very hard for them to get a full understanding of China. People often get confused about what is happening in China (while they are very curious).
On the facts part about China, what people in U.S. get is typically correct. The problem happens in the reasoning logic.
For example, people understand the terms of law in China, but are lack of information about how laws are enforced in China. So they interpreted in U.S. way.
People may see something terrible, but may ignore the fact of improvement (or becoming worst) over the last few decades.
People may see the fact some business fails in China, but don’t know the deeper reason and propose remedy that follows the same way that caused the failure.
I don’t think it is any one’s fault. It is just the nature of how the world works.
What we need is a bridge, to connect people and to promote understanding. I was continuously encourage by how people in America are willing to learn more about China and surprised by how little or how inaccurate people’s knowledge about China. Again, it is just the nature.
One typical example is the controversial about Google’s censorship in China. It is a long story and I promise I will cover this topic later in another entry.
People in China Needs to Understand American As Well
I think generally, people in China know U.S. better than people in U.S. know about China. The hollywood movies and Internet familiarize Chinese people of what is happening in America. However, movies and news reports are always misleading. For example, the frequently appeared street gun fighting in movies is not common in U.S, and Kongfu fighting is as rare in China.
I am among the group of people who know U.S. better than average. But I was often surprised by how people live with laws, and freedom in U.S. I understand it better only after I personally visit U.S. for many times, and had the chance to see the society in a closer way (for example, going into families). I saw with my own eyes that many assumption I made before the visit was wrong.
For example, many people in China don’t understand why freedom is so importance to the people in the States, and don’t understand why American are so “simple-minded” when dealing with laws.
These are long stories again, and I will cover in details in future blogs.
Building the Bridge
I repeat it for the third time: We need the bridge, seriously.
I am so happy I stumbled into the area by starting this blog. It may become one of the bridges connecting the two worlds, two cultures and the two people.
The advantage is, I have both Chinese and English blogs. I hope I can use English blog to talk more about China, like Hukou system and use the Chinese blog to describe about what I saw in U.S. (for example, how on earth does freedom work in U.S.). The effort is limited, but anyway, this must start from some where.
P.S. Thanks again for everyone who hosted me at home and for meal. To protect their privacy, I am not going to list their names. But my appreciation for letting me to understand more of the country is never less.
P.S. 2: I created the category named “West Meets the East” and put all related article on this topic under this category. At the time of completing this entry, there are already 14 articles in it. I hope there will be more.