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Heritage of ChinaContemporary Perspectives on Chinese Civilization$
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Paul Ropp

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780520064409

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520064409.001.0001

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Western Perceptions of China from the Late Sixteenth Century to the Present

Western Perceptions of China from the Late Sixteenth Century to the Present

(p.1) One Western Perceptions of China from the Late Sixteenth Century to the Present
Heritage of China

Paul S. Ropp

University of California Press

This book portrays for the general reader or the beginning student of China some of the diverse achievements and distinctive characteristics of traditional Chinese civilization, not for their economic or foreign policy implications but rather as significant elements of common human experience. Comparisons between traditional China and the contemporary West are usually very misleading. By comparing China and the West over a span of centuries, it becomes abundantly apparent that contemporary Western ways of living and thinking are of very recent origin. Several chapters in this book investigate how China and the West have affected each other in different areas, but the chapters as a whole suggest that such influences have not been terribly important in either culture. Other chapters show the inadequacy of old stereotypes of a “changeless China”.

Keywords:   traditional China, Chinese civilization, contemporary West, culture, stereotypes

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