One of our clients arranged a high level meeting with us and only our global CEO and head of Asia was invited. Like many multinational organisations operating in China, our global head is western, but our Asia head is actually Chinese and female. So as the two of them entered the meeting room at the client office, a young Chinese girl, I assume some kind of assistant, stopped my boss and said “sorry, you’re not invited to this meeting, just your boss”. I guess she thought our Asia head was simply our CEO’s assistant or something. Why? Well, because she is Chinese and could not possibly hold a senior post.
For me what’s interesting is that Chinese can be very proud and patriotic, for example, during the 2008 Olympic games, yet at the same time there is also some in-built programming that makes them think anyone who is western is naturally more intelligent and superior. I can’t really reconcile these two factors.