Harmony is a vocabulary which can never be emphasised enough here. Once I mentioned to a Chinese friend about the block of Google, he responded ‘It is for the harmony of the society’. I became silent.
I began to do a lot of thinking based on that conversation. Recently quite a few policies came out (eg. blocking Google, blocking Internet TV, blocking Chinese journalist to speak to media outside the country). Most people, contrary to my expectation, had little response. It is indeed a very harmonious environment.
Wanting to analyse this more rationally, I started reading more about Chinese history. As an agriculture-based society, China had formed communities based on location very early in its civilisation. Mobility and aggression were not encouraged as it hurt productivity in farming. It’s important to obey rules and follow a particular leader so every one living in the same neighbourhood would be in peace with each other.
Does this explain why Chinese/Asian cultures tend to avoid confrontation and seek harmony? To quite an extent I think so.
Would the coming of MOOC do? It may bring in some new sounds.