Chinese characteristics (1890) PDF ebook by Arthur Smith

Chinese characteristics 



Within the past thirty years, the Chinese have made themselves a factor in the. affairs of many lands. He is seen to be irrepressible; it felt to be incomprehensible. He cannot, indeed, be rightly understood in any country but China, yet the impression still prevails that he is a bundle of contradictions who cannot be understood at all. 

But after all, there is no apparent reason now that several hundred years of our acquaintance with China have elapsed, why what is actually known of its people should not be co-ordinated, as well as any other combination of complex phenomena. A more serious objection to this particular volume is that the author has no adequate qualifications for writing it. 

The circumstance that a person has lived for eighteen years in China is no more a guarantee that he is competent to write of the characteristics of the Chinese, than the fact that another man has for eighteen years been buried in a silver mine, is proof that he is a fit person to compose a treatise on metallurgy, or on bi-metallism. China is a vast whole, and one who has never even visited more than half its provinces, and who has lived in but two of them is certainly not entitled to generalize for the whole Empire. These papers were originally prepared for the North-China Daily News of Shanghai, with no reference to any wider circulation.
 

Content:

Introduction 

I. Unity in Variety — Variety in Unity ... 6 

II. Solidarity 9 

III. Social Solidarity .'. 12 

IV. Face IS 

V. The Faculty of Absorbing 18 

VI. Eating 22 

VII. Economy 26 

VIII. Hunger tor Gain and Thirst for Fame ... 33 

IX'. Industry $6 

X. Credulity ... ... 42 

XL Peaceableness 46 

' XII. Social Typhoons ... 49 

XIII. The Dread of Giving Offence 57 

XIV. Politeness 63 

XV. Benevolence 68 

XVI. The Disregard of Time ..., 74 

XVII. The Disregard of Accuracy 78 

XVIII. The Talent for Misunderstanding 86 

XIX. The Talent for Indirection 91 

XX. Flexible Inflexibility 98 

XXI. Parasitism 105 

XXII. The Absence of Nerves in 

XXIII. Disregard of Foundations n8 


XXIV. Contempt for. Foreigners 124 

XXV. Intellectual Turbidity 131 


XXVI. The Absence of Public Spirit 138 

XXVII. Inability to conserve Tangible Memorials of the Past ..' » 145 

XXVIII. Conservatism 151 

XXIX. Indifference to Comfort and Convenience 160 

XXX. Patience and Perseverance 177 

XXXI. Physical Vitality 186 

XXXII. Employment of Intermediaries 193 

XXXIII. Filial Piety 201 

XXXIV. The Absence of Sympathy 214 

XXXV. Mutual Responsibility and Respect for, Law 

XXXVI. Mutual Suspicion 

XXXVII. The Absence of Sincerity 

XXXVIII. The Absence of Altruism 

XXXIX. Polytheism; Pantheism; Atheism... 
XL. Conclusion 


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