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The face value of Chinese New Year

From a western perspective to ‘take something on face value’ generally means that we consider what we see to be true. In China however, the value of giving or receiving ‘face’ has quite a different connotation, its about being given the opportunity, or creating an opportunity to look good in front of others. Chinese New Year is, as you will have read elsewhere in this issue, at time to gain face in front of one’s friends and family.

Returning to one’s home town means meeting those you may not have seen for a year, and you must look good, and visibly demonstrate success in your clothing, your ability to pay for dinners, and even the car you arrive in. If you look successful and talk as though you are, everyone will be impressed no…

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