Beijing, China: China has become a part of American everyday life but most of us do not know too much about China and their life and culture. It has been my opportunity to travel to China for the past ten years. Every trip I gain new insights into this country and the Chinese people. In many ways, they are so much like the people in our country. I find them to be very family oriented, hard-working, and modest in their dress.

For most people, the Chinese way of life is a big surprise. Even though their government is a communist government, their economy is based on capitalism and entrepreneurship. They are the biggest producers of household goods in the world. Items are produced here and shipped to countries around the world. When you buy something in the store I would say eight times out of ten it has been produced in China.

On one of my earlier trips, I was invited to visit a factory. It was a factory that produced cords that connected computers. It was owned by a man in Springville, Utah. Most of the employees were women between the age of 20 and 30. I would say for every ten women there were three men.

China has such a big workforce. They have 1.3 billion people. For every person in America, there are five people in China. Here are some of the things that I have observed on my many trips.

Families are a key part of society: The people here are very tied to their families. In the years past, as many as five generations have lived together in the same home. On this trip, I rented a room from a Tibetan family. I ate breakfast and dinner with them. It was so interesting to see four generations all living together. Everyone seemed to be involved in each other’s life. I saw the grandpa often holding the young children and caring for them. In China, it is the way for the grandparents to take a major role in raising the grandchildren. In one family I ate with a little girl who was crying for her 82-year-old grandma to go to bed with her as they said that the moms and dads need their sleep to work. Their grandparents raised many of my friends. It seems so different for us but for the Chinese that is the way that it is done. Women retire at 50 to 55 and men from 55 to 60 and they are free to take care of their grandchildren. As I go about I see more children with grandma and grandpa than I do with their mother and father.


One custom that is difficult for Western people to understand is the diapering procedure in China.  Many children do not wear diapers but only have an opening so that when they do the mother or father can catch or clean up the mess.  Now that diapers are more available this is changing.

Education is very important in the life of the Chinese: All Chinese children have free education from kindergarten through the 9th grade. There is a lot of pressure for a Chinese student to do well in school. The higher education that is possible for them is based on the scores they receive on the test that are given in school. The better the test score you get on the many tests that they give you the better education you will be able to get.

Good and healthy foods are at the center of their lives: There is much more variety of food in China than anywhere I have traveled. However, the variety of food varies with the region of the country. In the north, there is a lot of wheat grown and they eat a lot of noodles made from wheat. In the south, rice is the main staple and they have some form of rice with every meal. They even make noodles out of rice and call them rice noodles. When I have been in the south, a main staple they have almost every day is a bowl of rice noodles with a little meat and a lot of vegetables. Vegetables are at the center of every meal. They must have more than ten different kinds of greens. When my Chinese friends come to America they often complain to me that the American diet did not have enough vegetables. Soup is a dish that is served at every meal. When I ask them why, they say that it is good to fill up on soup, as it will not make you fat.

Exercise is Important to the Chinese

There are parks though out the country where people can go to exercise.  Even today many people do not have cars so they do a great deal of walking.  In China, I have seen 70 years old do things that twenty-year-olds can not do here.

China is a culture with 55 minorities and a country that has one main language, Mandarin, but hundreds of dialects. China is the oldest culture on earth going back over 5,000 years. In summary, China is a country rich in culture and varied in history.