Where does guanxi come from? Bao, shu, and renqing in Chinese connections

Jack Barbalet

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Practices commonplace in mainland China, of individuals seeking favor from persons who control resources and, if successful, generating expectation of a return favor, characterized as guanxi , is widely held to be based on principles located in China's cultural traditions, including Confucianism. In these terms it is claimed that guanxi is based on certain connected moral principles, including bao (norm of reciprocity) and renqing (norm of human feelings), which can only be understood in terms of such cultural traditions. It is shown in the present article that claims regarding the classical roots of guanxi and related practices cannot be sustained and, further, that they are not required for the understanding or operation of guanxi . The origins of the concept of guanxi in late Qing and Republican China, and development of the term in post-1949 China, are outlined.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-37
    JournalAsian Journal of Social Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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