Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 181–198 | Cite as

Sino-Western Cognitive Differences and Western Liberal Biases in Chinese Political Studies

  • Baogang GuoEmail author


Many scholarly publications in the field of Chinese political studies show a strong Western liberal bias. Very often we find their descriptions and predictions on China to be inaccurate or false. To probe the problem of Western liberal bias, this study uses a multidisciplinary approach to analyze the Sino-Western cognitive habits and the cultural and historical roots of these differences. We find that there are some important cognitive differences between Chinese and Western people. These differences may derive from their linguistic, psychological, and genetic variations, and are closely associated with their different political values, preferences, and behavior patterns. The implication of these finding suggests that some of the Western liberal ideas may not be congruent with Chinese culture which emphasizes social harmony, rule of ethics, and respect to authority. Effort to promote Western liberal democracy as a universal value does not take into consideration of these important cognitive and cultural differences.


Political psychology Western liberal bias Liberal democracy Chinese cognitive pattern Binary thinking Sinicization Socialism with Chinese characters Asian values 



The author wishes to thank the East Asia Institute of the National University Singapore for supporting his research on the topic during his visit in summer 2014. He also wants to thank Nele Noesselt, He Li and Melissa Guo for their comments on the earlier draft of this paper. [46]


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesDalton State CollegeDaltonUSA

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