Population and Living Quarters Geography and Location
China is located along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia. After Russia and Canada, China is the world’s third largest country with a population above 1.386 billion. Shaped like a rooster on the map with an area of 9.6 million square kilometers and a coastline of 18,000 kilometers. Mountainous areas cover 33% of the country, 12% of the country is plains in the East, 10% is hills in the southeast, scattered throughout the country is 26% plateaus and 19% basins. The land surface slopes downward from west to east. (“China Through a Lens”, n.d.).
Housing. Majority of the population lives east toward the lowest part of the slope where most of the large cities are located. Those who live in the north build their houses with stone, sun-dried bricks, or tamped mud reinforced with straw due to the scarcity of wood. Homes in the south are made of brick, wood, or woven bamboo. Homes generally do not have yards and are often one large space instead of separate rooms. Older homes do not have a bathroom or kitchen forcing inhabitants to wash in the basins and use chamber pots as toilets. Closer to the cities people live in apartments, many of which do not have elevators and are decrepit state-owned apartments assigned by work units. Homes are not spacious and are usually occupied by four generations.
Compared to the United States
The United States has more bodies of water than China and is covered mostly by plains apart from the mountains in the east and low mountains and hills in the west. China has a smaller area than the US but a larger population. The average living space in China is about 300 square feet and the homes are in close approximation to one another. Living space in the United States is over 2,500 square feet on average and homes are more spread out (Gries, J., 1925). Most American homes are composed of wood, brick, and cement which are more sturdy materials than those implemented in China. American homes usually have yards and multiple rooms occupied by immediate families. (Gries, J., 1925).
Impact of Religion in China
The Chinese Communist Party believes that religion messes with social order. In the mainland, authorities destroy unregistered churches, temples, and other religious sites to terminate faith. Due to the Chinese Communist Party’s atheist beliefs, religion is mostly found outside the mainland. The three major religions that are practiced are Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. However, they are not considered religions, they are considered a way of life. Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism all teach the importance of respect to one’s elders and their duties to family and state. The Chinese believe the afterlife is similar to current life. They burn paper models of cars, bank notes, washing machines, and other necessities at funerals to send to lost ones in the afterlife.
Chinese Religion Compared to the United States
The Chinese do not have a native word related directly to the United States’ modern western definition of religion. The most similar term that is used can be translated as superstition. The US has various religious beliefs all of which are accepted by the government. The US constitution states the right to freedom of religion. Religion has a huge impact on most American citizens serving as a moral compass for day to day life.
Technology and Mass Media Restrictions of the Internet
Many rural Chinese citizens lack internet access and rely more on word-of-mouth, while those in the mainland suffer extreme censorship by the Chinese government. Daily practices of mass media and new technology use are closely connected to the rise and spread of liberalism (Lu, Y., Chu, Y., Shen, F., Hollihan, T., & Zhang, Z., 2016).
The opening of a new space for the exchange of ideas and intellectual debates in China caused the Chinese government to block outside internet sites. This censorship stimulated the growth of internal internet sites including WeChat instead of Facebook and TenCent instead of Amazon. Social media has a huge impact on the purchasing decisions of Chinese consumers because they lack trust in formal institutions and value peer-to-peer recommendations.
Media and Technology in China Compared to the United States
Unlike western societies, most traditional media in China are state-owned. Chinese citizens self-censor their social media out of fear of the consequences. To get around the Chinese government’s censorship of sensitive material, bloggers use virtual private networks or adopt alternative words and coded language to voice speculative opinions. The US has the freedom to expand our opinions even if they do not coincide with our governments’ beliefs. This major difference in information availability explains why research papers that are written by Chinese citizens often lack outside sources and all share the same perspectives as the Chinese government (Dong F, 2011). Media and technology in China stem from the voice and beliefs of their government, whereas in the US media and technology stem from the voice and opinion of individuals around the world. Although there are several differences, the struggle of determining the validity of information from the internet is a shared similarity between the US and Chinese citizens.
Socio-Cultural Beliefs and Values Family Over Individualism
The most important component of Chinese society is family, all values and beliefs revolve around it. One is not seen as an individual but as a unit made up of one’s family and ancestors. That unit falls under a family hierarchy with elders on top, their children below, then their children after that, and so on and so forth with the newest born at the bottom. This hierarchy describes how decisions are made for the family causing the inability of children in China to think for themselves. Traditional beliefs place men above women in China’s overall social hierarchy.
A man’s duty is to continue the family name by having sons, a woman’s duty is to marry. Once married the woman must move into her in-laws’ house and join her husband’s family and the first born son must remain at home to care for his parents into their old age. Honor and obedience is a crucial value to all aspects of life in China, failure to do one’s duty is dishonorable for the whole family.
Socio-Cultural Differences Between China and the United States
Parents do all the thinking in a Chinese society, because of this, children do not do well on their own. Over time they eventually move back home to a community made up of their family tree. In the United States, socio-cultural beliefs and values about one’s family are more of an unspoken concept learned through time, defining family by connections rather than blood relation. American children are encouraged to think for themselves when young and expected to at the age of 18. In contrast, Chinese socio-cultural beliefs and values are specific and must be followed, defining family by blood ties.
China’s GDP is 12.24 trillion US dollars, half of which is generated by state-owned companies, with a gross national income of 23.24 trillion PPP dollars as of 2017. The labor force is composed of 786,738.21 thousand Chinese citizens with an unemployment rate of almost 4% as of 2017 (World Bank Group, 2017). China’s physical features provide beneficial conditions for a diversified economy of animal husbandry, agriculture, mining, and forestry. China is the largest export market in the world and their exports continue to increase yearly. Computers and broadcasting equipment are their most exported goods. China’s most imported goods are crude petroleum and integrated circuits.
China’s Economy Compared to the United States
The American economy is less regulated with less government involvement. The US is the top export destination of China. Imports exceed exports in the United States, the opposite is true in China. The average Chinese consumer cannot afford the goods produced in China due to their weak currency. The US economy makes buying American products favorable and affordable to US citizens.
The party in power in China is the Communist Party of China which has both central and local organizations. The central committee is on top and when not in session, their power is exercised by the political bureau and its standing committee. China’s elections are based on a hierarchical electoral system. The local people’s congresses are directly elected. Higher levels of people’s congress up to the national legislature are indirectly elected by the peoples’ congress of the level immediately below. The Communist Party of China delegates elect the powerful central committee and the central committee elects the party’s top leader. Although there is a vote, many of the candidates are already chosen by current leadership and the committee simply approves their decree.
The Government in China Compared to the United States
China is a socialist country and the United States is a capitalist country. Although China is a communist party-led state, it shares the same 4 divisions of government as the US: an executive branch, legislative branch, judicial branch, and military. The US has multiple parties whereas China only has one. The US created the constitution to give rights to each individual to restrict the power the government has over the individual. Americans are taught to question the government to make sure all political decisions are for the greater good of the country. Chinese citizens are taught to trust the government over all else.
Food, Dietary Habits, and Body Image Eating Trends Food and Dietary Habits
A healthy diet in China is characterized by boosting strength and resistance to prevent illness. The most influential reason for eating healthy is to have the energy and capability to complete obligations to reach their highest potential. Breakfast should consist of eggs, vegetables, and fruits. Meat should be consumed at lunch in smaller proportion to fruits and vegetables, limiting beef and pork. The smallest meal of the day is dinner, which is often fish. Low-fat options are recommended in dairy and other animal products. Impact of Body Image. In China, the way healthy eating makes one feel was often unmentioned if not related to one’s duties. Food choices are based solely on increasing physical performance and endurance rather than physical appearance.
China’s Eating Trends Compared to the United States
In a study of American and Chinese students eating habits by Banna, J. C., Gilliland, B., Keefe, M., & Zheng, D. (2016), Chinese students focused on physical outcomes related to maintaining immunity. They emphasized the importance of specific eating times with larger meals during the day and smaller meals at night. American students described balancing consumption with regular physical activity and the importance of incorporating balance between food groups. Both groups of students recognized the relevance of moderation especially with foods containing high levels of sugar, fat, and salt. Both groups also agreed on their view of nutritious foods including fruits and vegetables. US women’s food choices are the most influenced by body image.
Little to no difference was found between Chinese men and women’s food choices based on body image. The trend of body image disapproval continues to increase in China due to the impact of western ideals.
Education China’s Educational System
The Chinese Education System (InterNations, n.d.) describes the state-run system of public education in China operated by the ministry of education. Children in China have the right to a minimum of 9 years of education, 6 years in primary schooling and 3 years in secondary schooling. Although the Chinese government’s 9 year minimum for education is free, the schools rake in money for services including water usage. Students in China get a water card that must be swiped when using the bathroom, washing up, and drinking water.
Once their weekly usage is above 3 tons, their family must cover the additional fees incurred. Those who are fortunate start their education in kindergarten and continue through several years of higher education. China’s universities have a limited number of spots available and numerous applicants. Admittance is dependent on an extremely difficult 9-hour exam that less than half pass. Those who pass are assigned to top universities, regular universities, and institutions that operate on a provincial level based on their results. Secondary schools quality is judged by how many of their students make it to higher education.
The number of students accepted into top universities determine the secondary schools’ popularity. Children from rural and poorer areas start their education at the age of 7, a year later than those from big cities, and start with nursery classes or seasonal kindergarten. Rural schools are often understaffed and offer fewer opportunities because of an inadequate educational environment. Those who make it to higher education have a thriving career which puts extreme pressure on students to succeed in a challenging and competitive environment.
Education in China Compared to the United States
Chinese and American students both spend 5 days a week in school. American students are required to go to school for about 12-14 years or until the age of 16 to 18 and high school is a right. Chinese students are only required 9 years of education and achieving higher education is a privilege only granted to the brightest students inducing higher stakes of failing than in the US. China’s literacy rate given by a website about statistics in China (UNICEF, 2013) was 96.4 for those above the age of 15 that can read and write, a much higher percentage than in America. Chinese students spend over ⅔’s of their school day learning Chinese and math, spending the rest of their time learning about morals, music, society, art, and taking practical work classes.
In the US education is aimed towards comprehension and creativity of several subjects rather than China’s aim towards retention and structure of accumulation.
Access and Utilization of Health Care China’s
Universal Health Care China’s central government is in charge of national health legislation policy and administration. Publicly provided health insurance is financed by local governments. In an article about international healthcare systems (Feng, 2016), China’s publicly provided health insurance is broken into three categories; Urban employment-based basic medical insurance, Urban resident basic medical insurance, and New cooperative medical scheme for rural residents.
Urban employment-based basic medical insurance is financed by employee and employer payroll taxes with minimal government funding. Urban resident basic medical insurance and New cooperative medical scheme for rural residents is financed by government subsidies. For-profit commercial insurance companies provide private commercial health insurance popular among employers and individuals with higher incomes. Home and hospice care are not included due to the belief it is the job of a child to care for their parents. Prescription drugs are also rarely covered. In rural areas, primary care is sought out through village doctors and health workers in rural clinics who are not licensed general practitioners.
Rural clinics are the most affordable option because village doctors and health workers generate income from reimbursements of public health services. General practitioners are less accessible to those in rural communities because they reside in rural township hospitals and urban community township hospitals. Medical professionals in tertiary and secondary hospitals are the least accessible to those in rural areas and low-income households. At the point of service, patients pay deductibles and copayments together with insurance covering the rest. Although most township hospitals and community hospitals are public and paid by the government, most rural patients cannot obtain or afford appropriate medical attention thus they refuse hospital care.
Universal Health Care in China Compared to Health Care in the United States
Hospitals in America have advanced medical equipment and highly skilled staff. Health care providers in the US must be licensed in contrast to China’s problematic minimum standards for health care providers. In China, medical resources and services are underfunded, understaffed, and unevenly distributed by neglecting people in rural areas. Both health care systems put great emphasis on prevention. China has universal healthcare, spending around 40 billion of government funding. The US spends more than 980 billion and does not have universal healthcare. (Feng, 2016).