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Assess the impact of modernization on Chinese culture and society.

The economic reforms in 1978 opened China to the world, and with this, Western
values flowed in at an unprecedented rate, exposing the long isolated Chinese to
the outside world. The mainly traditional Confucian society was on from then on
exposed to others cultures from the West, including contradictory ideas such as
individualism and capitalism. Given the many contradictions in mind, the Chinese
are now caught in a transitional period where both the traditional and new ideas.
The Chinese ideals on family, marriage, community, etc are now threatened of its
existence as the West slowly influences the young Chinese today. As China gets
more integrated with the world, so will more of its people, as more Western values
gets imported into the country.
Contradiction to the Confucian ideal of communal living, the idea of individualism is
slowly influencing the young Chinese. The Confucian ideal of community over self
has been an integral part of Chinese culture, where the individual right is
insignificant compared to communal good. Traditionally, the Chinese have been
living as a community. Exposed to Western pop culture, the young is especially
influenced by this ideal. The young is thus more focused with their individual needs,
relying on the parents for a living. It is now common to see unemployed youngsters
living off their parents. However, such emphasis on the emphasis on the individual
is more prominent in the urban centers where Western cultures enter first. The rural
areas are on the other hand slower in receiving such ideals, and are thus still
practicing communal living. Villages with communal or ancestral halls are still a
common sight in the rural areas today. Decisions pertaining to the village are still
done as a collective unit. Therefore, the amount of exposure to Western culture
actually differs from region to region, which is why the urban centers feel the impact
of individualism more than the rural areas.
As modernization takes place, the concept of family and kinship has no choice but
to change over the years. As the rate of urbanization increases, extended families
have give way to nuclear-sized families. For example in Beijing, the traditional Fourfold Houses have to be demolished to give way to smaller high-rise apartments.
Given the size constraint, extended families will have to break into smaller units.
Many young Chinese are also influenced by the Western concept of marriage and
family. There is now a trend where the younger Chinese do not mind pre-marital
sex, and many will prefer a single life or marry late. Such mindsets actually are
contradictory to Confucianism. Confucianism advocates property. The idea of premarital sex is certainly a taboo in Confucianism. Confucianism also advocates filial
piety, which requires the sons to take care of the aged and also carry on the family
lineage. With smaller family size, some of the aged will be left alone. Childless
couples and singles will also be unable to continue the family lineage.
With the induction of Western religions, traditional Chinese religions and
philosophies no longer have the monopoly over Chinese social mores. Chinese
culture and society has its roots form Buddhism, Taoist and Confucianism. The basis
of Chinese culture stems from the mentioned 3 religions; however, with the arrival
of Western philosophies, a myriad of values has a strong influence over younger
generation of Chinese. This is especially so with a large number of young urban
Chinese believing in Christianity and Catholicism. Many of these Chinese have

organized underground churched which are considered illegal by the CCP. Other
non-Christian Chinese are also celebrating Western festivals, especially Christmas
and Valentines Day. This trend is most prominent in the urban centers which are the
entrance for Western cultures. However, Western values and religions are mostly
popular within the younger generation and the urban centers. This phenomenon
may not apply to the rural areas where traditional Chinese beliefs still dominate the
psyche of the people living in those areas. In the coastal areas, people living in the
villages of Fujian and Guangzhou still believe in informal religions. It is still common
to see village deities and ancestral halls in these areas. In addition, fengshui, which
has its roots from Taoism, is still very prominent in contemporary Chinese society.
Commercial buildings and skyscrapers are built and located based on fengshui. The
Olympics stadium is also constructed based on fengshui theories. Although foreign
religious and customs may seem to have entered China, its influences are still seen
in the urban and the younger generation of Chinese, where they are more receptive.
On the other hand, the rural areas are normally the last to receive these new ideas,
which makes them less receptive to Western culture.
The CCP has revived Confucianism to counter the negative impact modernization
has on China. The CCP has recently called for the revival of Confucianism as a bid to
oppose the ill effects of modernization. Confucianism was chosen as it has least
religious connotations with it. This will have lesser repercussions on the CCPs
legitimacy, which is supposed to be atheist. Confucianism has recently been added
into the school syllabi to instill social mores and values into the younger generation.
Confucius schools are also created to spread the Confucian ideals to the public. The
Chinese leadership has also publicly called for the revival of Confucianism as a
counter against the impacts brought forth by modernization. A very significant e.g.
would be the spectacular and extravagant display of Confucian ideas during the
opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Although modernization has
changed Chinese society, some aspects of tradition and culture are still surviving
well. The concept of guanxi is still very prominent in the Chinese dealings in day-today affairs. This is especially true in the bureaucratic and business world where
guanxi can go out of hand to become corruption. This is evident in the many
infamous corruption scandals that took place in China, eg the recent Guangdong