Respecting Cultural Differences Out-of-Focus

February 26, 2010

I read at Crooked Timber that three Google executives were convicted of violating Italy’s privacy laws. That taught me that China is not alone in having laws different from other countries that limit activity on the Internet.

When China censors the Internet, or hires mothers to go after on-line pornographers, the family centered culture drives those actions. Most of China’s arrests of dissidents and executions of criminals are also driven by the family centered culture influenced by Confucian, Taoist beliefs.


A few years back, a Japanese citizen, wife and mother attempted suicide in the United States and killed her children in the attempt, but the mother was saved by bystanders. She tried to kill herself and her children, because she had lost face when it was discovered that her husband had an affair with another woman.

When the American legal system was going to try her for murder, the Japanese government protested and said her actions were driven by her culture. Respecting the differences between the two cultures, the United States allowed her to return to Japan.

If we really respect the differences between cultures, why does the Western media and American politicians go out of their way to treat China without respecting the cultural differences that explains why China’s government acts the way it does?

To understand China more, I recommend pietyface and heroes.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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