Karen Christensen

A colleague in Beijing said, “It’s all about relationships. And trust.” It was one of the moments that confirmed our vision for Guanxi—a word that means the special kind of relationship we all need to develop a facility for in order to be successful in China and working with Chinese colleagues.

William Theodore de Bary, Columbia University’s famous and venerable scholar of Asian studies, echoed this comment about trust when I asked him what modern professionals could learn from Confucius. He replied that Confucius once said that arms, food, and trust were necessary for governance, but that if necessary arms and even food could be forgone—but not trust. It’s as trust is built that business relations will flourish.

Professor de Bary has contributed our lead article on global education and has inspired a project you’ll hear more about soon: the Guanxi Book Club, an online guide for groups or individuals who want to learn more about China.

This issue, “The Rise and Rise of Chinese Education,” began with office banter and a question: are the Chinese really smarter? Learning and education are certainly highly valued in China, and as author and educator Ruth Hayhoe reports in “World Class,” the Chinese government is currently on a mission to transform its higher-education system.

Technology plays an important role in research, and we explain how Internet2 and partner Chinese initiatives are creating new means of collaboration between Chinese scholars and their peers in Europe and elsewhere. We also look at the growing educational divide in China and how the “Spring Bud” program is helping the girls left behind in the countryside.

Source: Christensen, Karen. (2006). Publisher’s Note. Guanxi: The China Letter, 2, 2.