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While the last article “3 Types of People in Chinese Working Environment” was solely focusing on stereotypes you can encounter in China at work, this article is focusing on the difference  between Chinese culture in Mainland, Taiwan and Hong-Kong. Since all the three places have experienced different influence during their history, Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong-Kong strongly differ language and culture wise.

Language

People in Taiwan speak a slightly different version of Mandarin Chinese than people from Mainland, the main difference lies in pronunciation and difference in vocabulary similar to British English vs. American English. The younger generation of Hong-Kong Chinese is fluent in Mandarin, does have a little bit of southern Accent though, because their native language is Cantonese. Cantonese has 9 tones compared to Mandarin Chinese that only has 4 tones. Mandarin Chinese is the most simple dialect among Chinese languages and is spoken by the most Chinese world wide.

There is a widespread rumor that Cantonese lost only by one vote against Mandarin to become the official standard Chinese

EnglishMandarinTaiwaneseCantonese
TrashLājīLasìLaap6Saap3
WeekXīngQīXīngQíSing1Kei4
Standart Chinese (Mandarin)PǔTōngHuàGuóYǔPou2Tung1Waa2
Text MessageDuǎnXìnJiǎnXùnDyun2Seon3
Chinese Characters

To decrease the number of illiterate people in Mainland China the government has introduced a simplified version of Chinese characters in the 1950s calling the traditional characters “the complicated characters” indicating that the Chinese government has made a positive transition from the past to the modern times. Taiwanese call their own writing system as so-called “proper characters” referring to their tradition and originality.

People in Mainland China use the simplified version 简单字 “jiǎndānzǐ” while people in Taiwan and Hong-Kong use the traditional version 繁体字 “fántǐzì”

Hong-Kong

Hong-Kong being a former british colony is an English-speaking society, it is easy to find a random person in the streets being fluent in English and it is more a mixture of England/China. In Mainland China this can be almost impossible outside Beijing or in rural areas. On the other hand the younger generation of Mainland Chinese is gradually getting better and better educated in foreign languages often doing their masters degree outside of China.

People in Hong-Kong have different manners, one major complain you hear is that people in Mainland don’t know how to wait in a queue and just rush forward to get in the bus while people in Hong-Kong can patiently wait. From my own experience I can tell that HongKongers are more cosmopolitan. During my trip in north europe I paid for a bus service to drive me through the whole country to see the most important highlights, I was the only European next to 30 HongKongers. Most Mainland Chinese from the generation of people who is in their 30s to 60s by the year 2017 never left their own country. With the increasing wealth of Mainland Chinese, more and more young people are experiencing an education outside China and catching up to the Hong-Kong Chinese. Hong-Kong is more Japan friendly because most of the horrible deeds done by Japanese soldiers during WWII happened in Mainland China.

The stereotype of passive aggressive HongKongers and straight/frank Mainlanders is rather not true. The temper in Mainland China strongly depends on whether the people are from northern or southern part of China. Northern Chinese also tend to be rather tall unlike the rest of the Chinese. Mainland Chinese people have a very patriotic education and are proud to be Chinese while people from Hong-Kong and Taiwan lay on importance to distinguish themselves apart from Mainland Chinese leaving a hint that people from Mainland China are in someway backward. HongKongers tend to be more critical towards their government while people from Mainland are more obedient and loyal.

Taiwan

China and Taiwan do not have a good relationship with each other, there is a debate over which country is the “Real China”. In 1949 the communist party forced the ruling government of China to flee to Taiwan, a separated Island from China. Other nations recognize the exiled government of China as legitimate while the former communist countries identify with the current Chinese government.

Taiwan, unlike Hong-Kong, is more a China/Japan mixture since it was under the Japanese rule from 1895-1945. The country has a good developed infrastructure like subway, train and less road rage than in Mainland. And just like Hong-Kong it is much more open to the west for many years, making it easy to find English-speaking people. Traveling is much easier in Taiwan since it is a small place that can be explored just within few days. Taiwan is not censored by the government, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc. are not blocked in Taiwan. As explained above Taiwan and Hong-Kong have maintained their tie to the Chinese traditions and you will find more traditional places like temples in Taiwan. Unfortunately a lot of cultural heritage was destroyed by the communist party in Mainland China during the cultural revolution.

Taiwanese is said to be the most friendly culture. Although the phenomenon of “cuteness” is present across the whole Asia, among the Chinese, Taiwan seems to push it to the limit.

 

 

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