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China

Regulations Of Family Relationships, Tradition—persistence And Transition

High respect for family is a special feature of Chinese civilization. The family is deemed the basic unit of Chinese society. An individual's actions are mostly geared towards the requirements of the family. This fundamental system has remained for about three thousand years without major change (approximately since the Chou dynasty, 1027–256 B.C.E. to the early twentieth century). Although it has been considered relatively stable, the Chinese family system is not resistant to change. The end of the imperial era in 1911 and the following industrialization and modernization brought about an extensive and dramatic change to this enduring system. Even when, in 1949, civil war separated the Chinese regime into two independent governments (the People's Republic of China under the Chinese Communist Party and the Republic of China, Taiwan, under the nationalist Kuomintang), the changes in Chinese family continued to take place. Nevertheless, there is a striking continuity over time. Much of the tradition is still apparent in contemporary Chinese society, and especially so in Chinese communities outside the People's Republic of China (PRC).


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural Aspects