According to the scholarly article, Chinese identity is unique and distinct to other cultures all over that the world. The community history and culture is major because of being geographically aligned to one specific place. China today geographically stretches from Korea in the north all the way to Burma in the south. It is prudent to acknowledge the fact that such a territory comes with internal variations. China incorporates the entire empire in eighteen century, and every expansion drew in variations of customs, land, language, and culture. According to studies, regional aspect of identity is term as a complicating factor in agreement of the whole china identity (Thompson, 2015).
It is worth noting that China has undergone considerable changes in the past century, especially since the fall of the imperial order in 1911. As varying understandings of the country’s past and future are interpreted to meet China’s present needs, discussions regarding identity are expected to be thorough, complex and shifting. China’s governing elites profoundly, though selectively, documented the people’s history. It is critical that the Chinese are conscious of the images of their country that are spread by local media or films and fiction.
History plays a major role in China today because it describes the past of the Chinese culture. According to studies, China has a five-thousand year past that dated back to an estimated time, 2600BC supported by the archaeological record. China people value their past a lot and that is why there are historical centers where past events are kept for other generation to learn what China looks like years back. Pre-modern Chinese history points out negotiations of power leading to identity construction of imperial China.
Furthermore, China has a unique culture that is passed from generation to generation. Even the most radical proponents of the Chinese culture are themselves deeply rooted in the tradition. Moreover, Chinese identity is rooted in shared traditions that are perceived in shifts interpretations and principles. Chinese philosophers, political and social beliefs were most visible in Confucianism among elite power. During the imperial era of Chinese history, social and political beliefs among the Chinese elite were primarily shaped by the ideas of Confucius. However, the ideas of Confucianism among both the common people and elite changed considerably over time. The influence and dominance of Confucianism over the history, identity and social structure of the Chinese cannot be overstated. It is the bedrock of traditional Chinese culture.
It is worth noting that the foundations of Chinese identity are variable. The Chinese cultural identity is characterized by utmost diversity and richness. Indeed, several articles have tried to figure out Chinese identity, but the real identity of Chinese people is never fixed. The past, place, and tradition provide multiple ideas that can be used to address the needs of the time. It is critical to acknowledge the fact that Chinese identity is rooted in the community culture and traditions that are passed from generation to generation through Confucianism.
Ritual and life cycle
The study of ritual rites of a group of people helps the researcher to understand the way certain society behaves. Almost every society has different ritual ways to commemorate, regulates and demarcates various stages of life. Through studying rites in the life cycle, one is able to achieve a more profound understanding of a given society. China, have deep-rooted ritual rites that are effective right from the childhood all the way to adulthood. For instances, China community has certain measures to be followed before marriage is commemorated. Hence, married couples are mandated to go to the temple to seek the power of goddess to give the ability to have children.
Additionally, the Chinese families prefer the male child in the family than the female because he will be carrying the families name in the future. In fact, many hospitals today prefer not revealing the identity of the fetus because the female unborn child is likely to be aborted. However, there are some people who have deviated from that belief, but the general population still hold on to the community rituals life cycle (Dean, 2014). Furthermore, the newly born babies were given jewelry by the grandparents to keep evil away from harming the child.
Most Chinese children are enrolled in kindergarten at a young age. This is primarily because a majority of Chinese mothers work fulltime. Most of these children join the primary school at about six years and subsequently go through the education system for at least nine years. Upon a child earning admission to a university, family and friends congratulate his/her parents, showering them with presents such as money in a red packet. In return, the parents host their family and friends to a great banquet. Such banquets may even go on for several days, especially if the family is well connected.
Just like in many other societies across the world, marriage is one of the most valued events among the Chinese. Marriage ceremonies in China entail a variety of rituals. Most traditional rituals in present-day Chinese society are actually retained in marriage. Some rituals and practices with regards to marriage in the Chinese culture have changed over the years. For example, traditional China required that the bride is in tears when she left her parents’ home. However, this particular practice is hardly followed in contemporary Chinese society.
According to research, Chinese community had guan ceremony which allows the respected members of the community to perform rituals that allowing passage from childhood to adulthood. Important events like marriage and funeral were dealt with according to set traditions and any mistakes were seen as a taboo to those involved. While some traditional rites and rituals have been passed down from the traditional Chinese society to contemporary China, others such as guan ceremonies are rarely practiced and have thus faded away from daily lives of most Chinese people. Most of the Chinese in society still practice rituals in the present day. However, few have embraced the western way of life.
Family and marriage
Chinese society according to the articles still values a lot the importance of family and marriage. Chinese society perceives family as an imperative social unit because they depend on families for basic needs. Chinese believe that the family is responsible for raising children, caring for the old, sick and the needy one in the society.
The family structure of the Chinese people consists of multi-generational families that are believed to be composed of five generations staying together under the same compound. Scholars have found that extended families live in one commonplace for security reasons. Even today, extended families stay together has persisted over the years with the urban population taking the nuclear form of family.
However, Chinese family traditions are facing reduction factors regarding family size due to several factors. Family income affects the size of the family size implying that the lowest income earning family will consist of 3.3 people while families earning substantial income will statistically consist of 2.52 persons. In imperial China, marriages could be terminated as a result of reasons such as theft, chronic illness, barrenness, jealous, wanton conduct or even neglect of the husband’s parents. However, only men had the power to initiate divorce proceedings.
Men generally avoided termination due to strong cultural norms and negative social pressures. In both traditional Chinese society and contemporary China, divorce and remarriages are associated with high costs for the relevant parties. Just like in many other societies around the world, globalization has had a considerable impact on modern Chinese society. More changes in the Chinese family systems are anticipated as a result of China’s market reforms and increased participation in the global capitalist system.
It is worth noting that love and romance are a necessary but insufficient precondition for a long-lived relationship in China. For example, research suggests that fairy tales are a major idea for American young adults. However, the same cannot be said for the Chinese young people. Marriage, on the other hand, is a crucial factor in Chinese society whereby, the woman is taken to the man family after the bride price is paid to her parents (Hareven, 2018).
According to Chinese traditions, it is not a must that the couple romance of date to get married, arranged marriages were made and the two stay in a marriage without any problem. By the age of 30, most of the Chinese women are required to have to get married while the male counterpart could even marry past that age. However, marriage could end up breaking up due to some factors such as chronic illness of the spouse, jealousy and sometimes fading of romantic love other reasonable factors.
Gender and sexuality
According to research, gender plays a major role influencing how the Chinese society organized itself in the past and the present day. Sexuality and gender influence various aspect of life in Chinese histories such as work, family role, political participation, and education. Moreover, sexuality converged more on a specific aspect of life which includes experiences and organization around gender. Pre-modern Chinese histories rely on Confucianism for principles that will regulate everyone in the society (Zang, 2015). The principles of sexuality and gender accord how men and women were supposed to behave in the society. Men were accorded much respect than women who were to be submissive to their male counterpart.
Confucianism emphasized on family and lineage. Therefore, in traditional China, sexuality was a priority in order to enhance procreation of a new generation. As a result of the communist revolution in 1949, many aspects of social life such as sexual relations in the Chinese society were rearranged. As in other societies around the world, the sexuality picture in China is characterized by complexity especially with regards to issues such as homosexuality, and sex and economy.
During the pre-modern history, Chinese elite embraced Confucianism as the main principle to regulate the people. Everybody was expected to know and behave according to their level in the Chinese society. This was not only aimed at promoting harmony among the people but also establishing a hierarchical order. It is unfortunate that women were at the bottom with regards to their position in the society, and were thus expected to be submissive. Confucianism established a family system where men were dominant over women. The idea of inferiority of women served as the code for women’s traditional Chinese society.
The cornerstone of the family system was that the primary purpose of sexuality and marriage was for procreation. Ensuring future generations was thus a critical aspect. Love and pleasure were thus less important than procreation. Males in pre-modern Chinese society were allowed to have more than one woman in throughout his entire life. The society permits the man to marry another wife as long as he is comfortable to be responsible. However the woman was never to involve in infidelity activities, in fact, a woman should be loyal to only one man according to Confucian laws. The Chinese traditions even permit the woman to take her life in the event of rape to keep her virtue as a woman of integrity.
Sexuality aspect in pre-modern Chinese society was majorly purposed for procreation and making sure that next generation is brought in. Also, it is important to note that sexuality as a factor, did not allow women to work in an environment where men work. It is the responsibility of the woman to do domestic jobs and be a good wife to her husband and leave men task to men. According to studies, there was a time the government retrieves to go and do domestic chores and to create more vacancies for men.
Contested ground, Community, and neighborhood
Community needs governorship and leadership to develop politically and socially, hence pre-modern Chinese is no different. After the Maoist era, the local and the state representative become competing for the available resource in the land of China. Local leaders advocated resist of the state rule on the basis that the government is set to demoralize the society through imposing of state policies such as birth control (Yunling, 2016). According to studies, during the pre-modern era, informal social networks work wonders in resisting state rules. In fact, the introduction of tax policies initiated more strategies plans to resist the government.
Moreover, policies open up solidarity accumulation spaces both in a rural community and the local government. Villagers were set to defend their interest after provision of public services and goods deteriorated. The community fears that the government lead by corrupt people will soon exploit them and that is what they did not want hence resisted. As a result of the fall of the pre-1978 commune structure, distribution of infrastructure in the rural community has been altered. It is critical that the village community is not treated as an autonomous entity protected against state domination.
The Chinese authoritarian system has been credited with controlling the Chinese society to discourage and prevent alienation and social and political crisis. Many state intervention programmes have resulted from the need for political stability and effective governance. Significant Changes in urban neighborhoods have been realized as a result of the increased competition for community space. Such competition leads to disputes and mobilization against government policies. As a result of the increased urban transformation, differentiation of organizational infrastructures has been achieved. Also, there has been the rapid growth of locally based collective actions for community space.
The role of state power in the creation of civic spaces cannot be overstated. However, varying aspects of the community and society as a whole must be viewed as due to relevant interventions and strategic institutional choices by the government. The state is striving to validate and revalidate its authority and influence in both rural community and urban neighborhoods.
This is achieved through enhanced village democracy and implementing proper rural welfare programmes. In summary, it is vital to acknowledge the fact that Chinese people are one of a kind with a unique identity regarding culture, past, and place. Chinese tradition in pre-modern days plays an important role in shaping present-day China. Up-to-date, Chinese identity is still unique because Chinese traditions are still practiced in most of the country. There are a lot of other societies that still hold on to their heritage, but China is one of a kind.
Thompson, E. P. (2015). Customs in common: Studies in traditional popular culture. New Press.
Hareven, T. K. (2018). Families, history and social change: Life course and cross-cultural perspectives. Routledge.
Zang, X. (Ed.). (2015). Understanding Chinese Society. Routledge.
Dean, K. (2014). Taoist ritual and popular cults of Southeast China. Princeton University Press.
Yunling, Z. (2016). China and its neighbourhood: transformation, challenges and grand strategy. International Affairs, 92(4), 835-848.