来源：杂文 发布时间：2019-02-07 04:10:48 点击：
Some of the most fundamental and important aspects of Chinese culture can be conveyed in one Chinese word: Mianzi.
Westerners in China are often frustrated when they hear Chinese people say ‘I am losing my face’ or ‘I have maintained my face’. For the Chinese, the meaning of face, or mianzi goes far beyond the biological definition. In China, face has something to do with the selfimage or dignity of the person you are dealing with. “Giving face”, “maintaining face” or “losing face” are of significant importance in interpersonal relations.
Face practice among Chinese is a long enduring tradition in Chinese political, business and social arenas. In the business world, face practice often plays a role in concluding a business deal. Give face to your business partner by showing much respect to him in public or gladly accepting any of his invitations, and you’ll be very close to a business deal. It is all too easy for Westerners who are unaware of face practice to make fatal mistakes. One classic mistake is for Western businessmen to spend too much time in meetings interacting with the Chinese participant who speaks the best English, rather than the highestranking person present - thereby causing the high-ranking person to lose face, and damaging the prospects of the deal under discussion.
Chinese culture is a collective one that values community, lasting relations and humanized feelings. Never insult, embarrass, or yell at a person because it will cause him or her to lose face in public. The Chinese are reluctant to say ‘no’ to someone because of the face issue. This tendency is entirely different from the Western way of communication when “yes” really means yes and “no” really no.
In contrast with the American culture that highlights individualism, Chinese culture places much emphasis on family as a whole. Face is the image you have to maintain consistently within the expectations of the family or the community. For example, if a Chinese student fails an exam, he or she won’t have the courage to face their parents, who place high expectation on their children. The person has also lost his face before friends and relatives. In this case, face can be a great motivation for a person to do better, as the society expects him to do so.
However, the face issue can also be a problem if you get too fixed on it. For example, your neighbor has purchased a big house, and in order to maintain your face, you are going to get a bigger one regardless of how much you earn. The mortgage may take 30 years to pay for, but so long as you can beat your neighbor and maintain your face, you are going to do it.
Today, face practice is prevalent in Western discussions of Chinese culture, quite possibly to the point of exaggerating its importance. Nonetheless, it continues to be a pervasive issue affecting many aspects of Chinese behavior.