Does traditional Chinese culture still exist in Beijing?

Author Name
Answered by: shema, An Expert in the China - Beijing Category
From the crush of people elbowing to ascend the bus steps first, to the tides of tourists jockeying to get the best view from the top of the Great Wall; Beijing is one of the most complex and interesting cities you could ever visit. The mix of the modern with traditional Chinese culture is so blatant that on one street you will see a brand new shopping mall, only to turn the corner to find people wheeling wooden carts filled with vegetables. And even better for people who love nightlife, you will walk out of fancy two-story clubs to find people selling a range of grilled food on sticks. Nothing better than spicy chicken on a stick prepared on a little portable grill for you after a night of dancing.

This vibrant, people-filled city can feel like an assault on your senses at times. Everything seems like a exhibit or show trying to attract the most attention... and tourists' purses. You can’t walk for ten minutes without being hailed by street vendors to buy their wares or offered tickets to a famous landmark. One could even say that it seems like traditional Chinese culture itself is for sale. Anything that is considered a kind of cultural article can be bought. And if these cultural symbols are being bought as proof of visiting Beijing, ignoring whether the object is still of use in current society or not, then would it be correct to give them the status of an artifact of traditional culture?

Under the multi-layered facade of consumerism is a thrumming heartbeat that has you jumping out of bed at 5 am ready to conquer the world. Life there couldn’t feel more real, and perhaps its this very energy that drives the merchandisers to flock the streets. A very basic way to understand Beijing is to take the idea of a modern city and fill in the blanks with bits and pieces of Chinese culture.

Two distinct things that stand out anywhere: the beautiful language and delicious food. If anything in Beijing is still tied to it's ancient roots, these two would be the closest. The status of language in China throughout history is complicated, and the definition of what "Chinese" actually is could fill books. But two things are certain: Mandarin Chinese is definitely still closely tied to its ancient roots, so are the other 50+ languages spoken by minorities in China; and if you haven't tried the world renowned Beijing Duck yet, your taste buds haven't truly lived.

Beijing can be loud and crowded, but it can also be exhilarating and eye-opening. You can enjoy the constant motion and comforts of a modern city, while also experiencing the delights of a city with an ancient history. You can even purchase little relics at the many popular tourist destinations and bring a little piece of the past home with you. In the end, whether the current culture bares a large resemblance with the culture of China's past or not, this fascinating city stands out unique, and is hard to confuse with other places.

Author Name Like My Writing? Hire Me to Write For You!

Related Questions