Chinese culture has remained constant and unchanged for the last 5000 years. While China has had its share of internal wars and foreign invaders, compared to other countries it shows amazing historical continuity. How has China been able to remain as such a monolithic culture can only be attributed to its largely homogeneous population, long periods of isolation from the rest of the world, and the ability of those in power to impose a hierarchical system that has demanded obedience from those in lower stations of society.
The notion of obedience can be viewed from the perspective of the contrast between individualism and collectivism. Where in individualistic societies the idea of obedience conjures mixed feelings at best, collectivist societies cannot survive without people’s obedience to the strict social norms, and governmental mandates placed on them. In fact, the Chinese word gexing meaning “individuality” is relatively new. Its first usage dates back to the time of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.