A Different Point of View: Chinese Traveling in the USA

by Joe

Summer is upon us and in many world cultures, this is the season for vacation travel.  In previous blogs on this website, we have written extensively about the experience of being an American traveling to China and cultural differences to prepare for and be aware of.  For an interesting change of pace, we thought we’d help you gain an understanding of what it’s like to be a Chinese visitor to our nation; to understand what it’s like to be ‘on the outside looking in’!  Sometimes its only by understanding how other people understand us that we can begin to understand ourselves.

According to the Department of Commerce, China lags only Mexico and Canada in the number of foreign visitors to the United States,.  As of 2015, over 100-million Chinese have traveled to the US.

Several factors have made this possible.  Increased affluence in China is certainly one reason.  Another reason for the increased travel to our shores has been an extended US-China visa agreement that encourages an increase in Chinese business travel and tourism in the US.  And of course, there is the natural inquisitive nature all people have to visit new and interesting places.  As Hansi Men, a Chinese investment immigration lawyer was quoted in Business Insider, “Many Chinese parents want their children to visit America.

The Chinese government takes steps to prepare their citizens for successful journeys.  One example of this is a 64-page book published by China’s National Tourism Administration called “Guidelines on Civilized Travel Abroad”.  The book instructs the Chinese not to force locals to pose for photos, leave footprints on toilet seats, cut lines, pick their noses, or take more than they can eat at buffet tables.  Beyond a long list of ‘don’ts’, the handbook also provides a strict set of ‘do’s’ including using shower curtains in hotels, being punctual if taking part in a tour group, arriving at a banquet hall 15 minutes early and adhering to formal dress codes.  Not just an ‘ettiquette book’, this is actually legal code and travel companies whose clients break the rules can actually be subject to fines as high as $49K!

A number of Chinese websites also provide advice on how to socialize with Americans during their trips to our nation.  A few of these observations were translated by writers of England’s Daily Mail newspaper and are summarized here:

  • Encouragements to address people by their first names
  • Americans ‘deliberately’ do their own laundry and other household functions and are proud to do them.
  • Don’t be bothered by the fact that Americans don’t know anything about China
  • When Americans are in conversation, the expectation is to give the person speaking your complete attention
  • Keep a physical distance of four-feet from other people while in conversation so you are not struck by hand gestures
  • Compliment people on ugly hair cuts or bad photos and seem sincere
  • Americans have few or no social customs. If you do something that is not the norm, people will think you are ‘doing a good job in your own way’.


The Chinese are more like us in the places they like to visit when traveling in America.  See if any of these top ten destinations are not also on your list of favorite spots or maybe on your ‘bucket list’!


  • The Grand Canyon
  • Hawaii
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • New York, NY
  • Niagara Falls
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Universal Studios; Hollywood, CA
  • Washington, DV
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yosemite National Park


Whether or not any of these are on your family’s travel itinerary this summer, don’t be surprised if you happen to meet more than a few Chinese visitors.  The prevailing trend suggests you’re very likely to.  Be sure and extend to them your warmest personal version of American hospitality.  Just think – new information suggests the Chinese may have actually been here first!  In fact, recent discoveries at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, NM show evidence that ancient Chinese explorers ‘discovered’ America thousands of years before Columbus ever reached the West Indies.  But this is perhaps information for another blog….

Two Lessons About Negotiating With China; A Recent Event at the Richard Nixon Library

by Joe

Dr. Wood recently participated in an event hosted at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda on March 28th. The theme was “Only One China? The Shanghai Communique in the age of Trump”

Speakers for the event-r1

A distinguished panel of speakers at the Richard Nixon Library.

Following a VIP Meet-and Greet Reception a panel discussion was moderated by Clayton Dube who heads the USC U.S.-China Institute. Panel members included Karl Eikenberry Director of the U.S. -Asia Security Initiative of Stanford Asia-Pacific Research Center. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2009-2011.

He was joined by Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy, distinguished scholar of the Kissinger Institute on China. His ambassadorial assignments included Singapore, China and Indonesia. Also in attendance was John Pomfret, correspondent for the Washington Post and a Fulbright Senior Scholar living in Beijing. His recent book “The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom” (see pictured) is worth having if you are wishing to become an expert on China.


John Pomfret, correspondent for the Washington Post and a Fulbright Senior Scholar living in Beijing, was also in attendance. Mr. Pomfret is the author of The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom.

As the title for the event indicates, the emphasis was upon the Shanghai Communique crafted and agreed upon by Mao Zedong and Richard Nixon. It never made the status of “law” in either country but has provided the basis of relationship between China and the USA since that time. During that famous meeting, Mao told Nixon, “We can be patient regarding Taiwan and wait 100 years.” Ambassador Roy noted, “My diplomatic experience reveals when someone says 100 years it means forever.”

The general consensus of the panel was that Taiwan will eventually be reunified with mainland China. It was also noted that Taiwan’s status is unique. Taiwan has full autonomy in governing. They are under no immediate military threat. The position of the USA supports a peaceful resolution. The only way that can happen is for both parties to agree to reunification. It was suggested that the motivation for such a refunification will be economic.

Meeting New Friends

Word 4 Asia enjoyed meeting new friends at the Nixon Library on 3/28/17.

Regarding the recent statement of President Trump, the “One China Policy” may be negotiable. The panel surmised it was due to a non-politician not having an expert cabinet in place to advise him and not being sufficiently counseled. Once he had his people in place, President Trump quickly reverted to the “One China Position.” Roy noted that President Trump violated the best wisdom of “the art of the deal” when he laid on the table what he absolutely could not win.

There were two take-aways. First, the Shanghai communique was reached because both the USA and China both feared Russia in 1972. It is interesting how both may be at the same point in 2017.
Second, Richard Nixon was able to reach this pivotal point in Sino-American relationships because he was willing to go to China in person. This is an historic lesson that anyone wishing to achieve much in today’s China must understand; first we make friends, and then we can do business. There is no substitute for face-to-face time.

Conference Room Available

One of the available conference rooms at the Nixon Library.

If you are considering hosting a Chinese delegation in the Los Angeles area, the Richard Nixon Presidential Museum and Library is a stop worth considering. W4A has hosted numerous delegations from China and we find that they appreciate relevant history.

Chinese Religious Policy 2017

by Joe

Chinese Religious Policy 2017

February 10-18, 2017
Yorba Linda, CA
Word4Asia Consulting International was honored to co-host a delegation of 12 leaders representing the National CCC (Registered Protestant Church) and SARA (State Administration of Religious Affairs for two symposiums which were conducted in both Florida and Southern California last month.
The bulleted points which follow are a sincere attempt to share what was said in public-official forums by the CCC and SARA officials. They will be shared with a minimum of editorial comment. I will not attempt to defend or debate the data, positions or perspectives.
Any errors of content are that of the writer and could be the result of my poor listening skills or error in interpretation.


  • The SARA department sent Mr. Ma who leads department 3, the Islamic department. Mr. Ma was clearly the “lead” person for SARA in these symposiums. This was an interesting choice as the other religious leaders in the delegation were all representing the Protestant churches in China.
  • Mr. Ma’s (SARA) primary intention was to promote religious harmony. He pleaded for mutual understanding between faith groups to further social harmony. He shared that there is a concerted effort in China today to unite the five religions which are sanctioned in China into a single combined force that will assure peace within the country. These five sanctioned religions include Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam, Taoism and Buddhism.
  • The CCC is working to “Sinocize” (make more Chinese) Christianity in China. This is often translated as “localization.” This renewed emphasis strengthens the historic “Three Self Principle” which argues for the Chinese church to be self-governing, self-propagating and self-supporting. The registered church in China encourages their people to make friends and even participate in cross-cultural exchanges. Simultaneously, the objective is for the Chinese Church to be devoid of Western culture and thought.
  • Elder Fu (TSPM chairman) indicated the church has reached a point of stability. After decades of fast, evangelistic effort, the present need is to deepen the education and leadership skills of Chinese pastors. Elder Fu reported that there are now 28 million baptized members in the CCC congregations.
  • One leading Senior Pastor from Beijing shared that the churches have a commitment to both the centrality of Jesus as Savior and the Bible as their authority.
  • One Provincial CCC leader reported that the number of converted Protestants in his province are now approaching a population which is twenty times larger than when China opened up. There are now over 2.4 million believers. In this province, the ratio of ordained pastors to members is 1:6,500.
  • When asked about religious policies for children, a representative from the National CCC reported “there is absolutely no problem with religious education of children today, if it takes place within the church buildings.”
  • When asked about religious broadcasting in China, Elder Fu explained that, as religionists of any sort are a vast minority in China today, it would not be wise to confuse and possibly alienate the wider public of China by promoting religion via radio or television broadcasts. This will not be happening.

For more detailed information and explanation you may contact Word4Asia Consulting International. Office: 714.769.9114.

To be continued…

CCC And SARA Delegation R1
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IMG 3866
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Word4Asia’s Contribution to Trauma Treatment in China

by Joe

Word4Asia has recently contributed to the field of Trauma Treatment in China. We’re humbled to have been given the opportunity to serve in this way and we’re very optimistic about the impact that our cooperative work with China’s mental health professionals will have.

Trauma Treatment, also known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is a method of helping people who are suffering mental distress in the aftermath of having experienced significant emotional trauma.

Sichuan earthquake – ChinaChinese authorities are acknowledging that a significant proportion of their people are suffering from PTSD following events such as earthquakes, floods, and traffic accidents. This is more problematic for the Chinese than for other developed nations because China lacks sufficient mental health professionals, especially in rural areas, even in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Traditional Chinese cultural values are also an impediment. Consider how the Chinese value of ‘saving face’ factors in situations where seeking mental health assistance has a fear of stigmatization. Many people in China also lack of information on mental illnesses and psychotherapy, and there are concerns about confidentiality. Despite these concerns, trauma treatment (also referred to as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is growing in prominence in China. The Chinese government is actively encouraging this form of treatment and Chinese attitudes are becoming more accepting and receptive to this treatment.
Trauma treatment typically features several components including:

  • Psychoeducation – How experiencing trauma impacts emotional and cognitive functioning
  • Relaxation and stress management techniques
  • Affective expression and modulation – ways to manage one’s emotional reactivity and ways to ‘self soothe’.
  • Cognitive coping and processing enhancement – helping people understand the relationships among their thoughts, feelings and behaviors
  • Trauma narration – therapy in which patients describe their own traumatic experiences

translation-for-trauma-healing-books-has-begunWord4Asia is networked across mainland China and we enjoy excellent relationships with a number of organizations and professionals that specialize in this Trauma Healing. We have been happy to partner in creating a Trauma Healing training manual which will soon be used to help many people in China. The manual was originally created for use in Africa where many people have suffered trauma because of the continent’s many wars, natural disasters and famines. Word4Asia’s culture and language experts contextualized, acculturated and translated manuals that were originally written for Africa’s trauma treatment programs. In their original form, the training manuals told stories that reflected the life and cultural trappings of life in Africa. The illustrations depicted African people and everyday images of African life. All of this had to be transformed so that the stories (which are used in treatment exercises) are a reflection of the life and culture of the Chinese people. The illustrations had to be recreated to support the new stories. Everything is written in Mandarin.
We have great expectations for the effectiveness of the treatment programs.

Because Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has many elements which are sympathetic with Chinese culture, we have great optimism for the success of the various programs which are now launching in China. The principles and practice of Trauma Healing are compatible with the Chinese people’s penchant for self-help because it emphasizes learning new coping skills and self-management of emotional problems.

Overcoming the erosion of one’s sense of self and the ability to control one’s emotions and responses to disruptions is important to the Chinese. Their culture values moderation, proper conduct and the restraint of strong emotions and excessive behaviors. Chinese culture emphasizes the group over the individual so avoiding interpersonal conflict is incredibly important. They also have a strong sense of responsibility and obligation to the family. Proven treatment methods which restore the individual’s ability to successfully function in such a culture are likely to be embraced.

woman excited with sunrise on mountain peak

Chinese sufferers of PTSD are learning to manage happier lives through Trauma Treatment.


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