A Dramatic Shift in China’s Cultural Values

September 4, 2011

Before 1949, Chinese culture was heavily influenced by Confucian thought and poetry, and the arts were extremely popular for their aesthetic and moral importance.

The goal of Confucianism was to create gentlemen that carried themselves with grace, spoke correctly and demonstrated integrity in all things.

Confucius believed that the most important lessons for obtaining a moral education were to be found in the Book of Songs, because many of its poems were both beautiful and good.

In fact, to Confucius, the role of poetry and art played an important role in the moral education of a gentleman as well as that of society in general.

For this reason, before 1949, the cultivation of poetry and the arts was considered more important than that of science or business.

Prior to 1949, to have a son majoring in the arts was a source of pride for most Chinese parents.

However, today, if a parent says his or her son is majoring in the arts (such as poetry, literature, or painting) at this or that university, (shocked) silence is the usual response and many Chinese parents would not want a daughter to marry such a man since this career choice may often lead to a dismal future.

A better choice today might be to see one’s daughter marry a banker or an I.T. major working for Alibaba, China’s e-Bay, or Baidu, China’s Google.

This cultural shift may best be seen by popular majors in China’s modern universities.

According to a recent survey conducted by Beijing University, the 10 most popular college majors in China recently were I.T. (information technology, which refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, and the Internet), electronics, languages (study of foreign languages such as  English), law, mechanics, architecture, accounting and finance, journalism, medicine, environment and business management.

In comparison, according to College Stats.org , the most popular college majors in the United States are biology, business, communications (journalism), computer science, criminal justice (law), elementary education, marketing, nursing, psychology, and political science and/or sociology.

If we compare popular college majors in China to those in the United States, which country appears to be on the right track?

Discover China Investing BIG in Education


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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Education and Cultures Collide in the US (2/5)

August 2, 2010

The reason that Swan earned those A’s is because my wife is Chinese, who grew up in China during Mao’s era, and I did not grow up in an America dominated by the self-esteem, political correctness cult, which many in the US still worship. To me, learning means work while feeling good and having fun is not important.

The reason for our daughter’s success is that the Chinese value gaining an education above other ethnic groups.

To prove my point, I’m going to use statistical information from two schools.  The first is Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, California. Although the law says this data must be made available to the public, it isn’t easy to find unless you know where to look.  Since I taught in California’s public schools for three decades, I know where to find it.

First, you must access the Las Lomas High SchoolSchool Facts and Accountability Information, 2008–2009″. Once on this page, scroll down to find the list of high schools in this district. Click on the link for Las Lomas High School. When the Las Lomas page opens, scroll down again and click on “School Accountability Report Card (SARC)”.

Look under Subgroup Test Scores and discover the ethnic/cultural break down that shows the number of students tested and the percentage who were proficient or advanced.

Hispanic/Latino 51% of 92 students
African American  60% of 34
Filipino 71% of 35
White/other 80% of 782
Asian American 84% of 123

The reason why I look at these scores by ethnicity is that each ethnic group is a subculture and has unique differences. The data shows that most Hispanic/Latino values gaining an education less than the others.

These STAR Test Results show comparable stats for proficient or advanced for English Language Arts 2008-2009

Hispanic/Latino 52%
African American 62%
Filipino 69%
White/other 80%
Asian American 84%

For Las Lomas, scroll further, and look at the API Changes by subgroup: Three-Year Comparison and you will discover that the Asians had a gain of +34 for 2008-2009. Why, after all, they had the same teachers in the same school?

Return to Education and Cultures Collide in the US (1/5)


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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