Face is why the Chinese businessman will take great risks or take only a few risks and if given a chance may steal another person blind—that is if they believe they can get away with it. If they are caught and it is against the law, that is a loss of face—one reason for suicide. Most Chinese men will wait until they are successful before they let others know. If they fail, it’s possible no one will hear about it beyond the family unit.
Face is why Chinese men often work twelve to sixteen hour days, seven days a week earning small but saving big. The Chinese will do without luxuries and save to pay for their child’s university education. Chinese women will work just as hard.
Regaining face may be one reason why Mao reoccupied Tibet for China in 1950. The other reason may have been tactical—to control the high ground like Israel controls the Golan Heights. Having control over that plateau was one of the tactical reasons Britain convinced the Dalai Lama to declare freedom from China in 1912.
Face may be why China’s leaders get so angry over Taiwan. As long as Taiwan is out there and not ruled by the mainland, it may be seen as a loss of face. It’s why the Chinese want to walk on the moon and reach the other planets before anyone else. In China, “face” is universal to the entire population and different for each person.
Continued at Gambling for “Face” – Part 4 or discover The Power of Public Debate in China
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.
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