Along the way to Beijing to attend the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony this past week, President Bush made a stop in Bangkok.
His purpose was to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the alliance between Thailand (Siam when the alliance was formed) and the United States.
In his Bangkok address, Bush paid allegiance to Thailand as a significant leader in Asia and applauded the Thai government for the restoration of democracy for its citizens as well as being one of the driving forces that have helped to transform post-WWII Asia into a thriving and dynamic region.
Bush also took the opportunity to decry China’s detention of political dissidents and religious activists, as well as the lack of freedom allowed to the Chinese citizens, in general. In the weeks prior to the Games, Bush has had to juggle the pressures from human rights activist groups to confront China in its treatment of Tibetans while striving to keep a positive relationship with China as a key trading partner.
Responding to Bush’s remarks, Qin Gang, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, chided the President by proclaiming that China “opposes any words or acts that interfere in other countries’ internal affairs by using human rights and religion and other issues.“
While Mr. Gang’s carefully crafted direct verbal response matched the means by which Bush expressed his concerns, the true indication of China’s feelings was expressed in another way.
Subsequent to Bush’s speech, a charter flight carrying the White House press corps was detained for nearly three hours after landing at Beijing’s International Airport not long after Bush arrived to attend the Opening Ceremony. The flight crew of the Northwest Airlines 747 had been expecting to park at a VIP terminal (based on preliminary arrangements) but was instead told by the control tower to park at a normal international gate. The nearly 40 journalists who were due to cover Bush’s first appearance of the day – the opening of the new Beijing US Embassy complex – were not allowed to leave the plane until just after 5:00 AM local time and were also forced to go through the normal immigration clearance procedure.
In addition, the luggage belonging to American officials on Air Force One was required to undergo inspection by Chinese officials in spite of long-standing arrangements that such a search would be unnecessary.
U.S. officials attributed the “confusion” over the logistics of Bush’s visit as well as disagreements over security arrangements for the Bush motorcade to “divisions within the Chinese government.”
These events appear to be more a matter of a cross-cultural collision. The issue has to do with cultural differences along a continuum that ranges from low context (U.S.) to high context (China.)
The context in cross-cultural communication is one of the key cultural dimensions – and perhaps the most difficult to define. Context refers to the array of stimuli surrounding every communication event and how much of it is meaningful to both the sender and receiver.
In a low context culture such as the U.S., linear logic and a direct style of communication is the norm. By way of contrast, high-context cultures, such as China, draw upon intuition and utilize an indirect style of communication. People using high-context communication tend to be reserved, with much being taken for granted and assumed to be shared, thereby giving emphasis to understatement and non-verbal codes. For the Chinese, meaning is couched in the nature of the situations.
President Bush, from a culture steeped in the values of equality and individualism, is accustomed to sending and receiving messages directly using words, which is low context. However, to the high-context Chinese, in a culture of hierarchy and in-group loyalty, the speech was likely seen as blunt and insensitive.
In situations of conflict, people in a high-context culture tend to be less open. Strong emotions are not expressed openly and explicitly in high-context cultures and the communication is typically perceived as vague and ambiguous by people from a low-context culture.
The Chinese response to Bush’s Bangkok address was expressed in the context of meddling with and requiring the immigration procedures and luggage inspections normally accorded to tourists. In short, the message being conveyed to Bush and his entourage was a high-context way of saying “mind your own business.“
Here’s a specific article about doing business in Asia.
An article about the cultural component of the US elections can be found here.
Get a Taste of How Chris Presents, Watch his TEDx Talk
Call Direct: +32476524957
European Office (Paris) Whatsapp: +32476524957
The Americas (USA; Atlanta, GA; también en Español): +1 678 301 8369
Book Chris Smit as a Speaker
If you're looking for an Engaging, Exciting, and Interactive speaker on the subject of Intercultural Management & Awareness you came to the right place.
Chris has spoken at hundreds of events and to thousands of people on the subject of Cultural Diversity & Cultural Competence.
This is What Others Say About Chris:
- “Very Interactive and Engaging”
- “In little time he knew how to get the audience inspired and connected to his story”
- “His ability to make large groups of participants quickly and adequately aware of the huge impact of cultural differences is excellent”
- “Chris is a dedicated and inspirational professional”
In addition, his presentations can cover specific topics cultural topics, or generally on Cultural differences.
Presentations can vary anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours and are given World Wide.
Book Chris now by simply sending an email. Click here to do so.
Read more about what Chris can do for you.
- Percentage of People Rating a Presentation as Excellent 86% 86%
- Rating the Presentation as Practical 89% 89%
- Applicability of Chris' presentation 90% 90%
About Peter van der Lende
Peter has joined forces with Culture Matters.
Because he has years and years of international business development experience joining forces therefore only seemed logical.
Being born and raised in the Netherlands, he has lived in more than 9 countries of which most were in Latin America.
He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia (USA) with his family.
You can find out more at https://expand360.com/
Or find out what Peter can do for you here.