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Some Reflections on How to Approach Chinese Culture

Vol. 9, No. 2 (2013): 1–13.


With China being one of the largest sources of inbound tourists to Australia, the need to better understand Chinese culture has never been more highly emphasised by various organisations represented in Australian media, yet some cultural misreading with thinly-veiled value judgements are regularly discerned. Accordingly, a better cultural awareness is imperative for Australians to approach and understand Chinese people. This paper gives a brief review of the definitions of culture, its emergence and role in international relations. It then proceeds to the definition of Chinese culture and in particular, the turbulent history of modern Chinese culture. After a few preconceptions and misconceptions of Chinese culture in Australia are presented for discussion, finally some suggestions are made to help develop a historical and holistic view of Chinese culture.

Author’s bio

Shi Li received his undergraduate education in English and postgraduate education in history in China, and then moved to Australia to complete MBA at La Trobe University and PhD at the University of Tasmania. He has been teaching courses or units of Chinese language and culture at the University of Tasmania, the University of Newcastle and currently at the University of New England in Australia for nearly ten years. His research interest mainly focuses on the cultural understanding and cultural exchange between Australia and China.


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