The Big Party just wrapped up in Beijing has meant many things to many people. “Sparta” (si ba da or 斯巴达), as the Sino-weboverse has dubbed the 18th Party Congress (shi ba da 十八大) in order to refer to the otherwise unreferrable-to, has taken over. Sure, there’s a transition of power, but what seems to be clearest in all the transitioning is that daily life for your average capital-city residents has been made difficult – to say nothing of what it’s done to the city’s pigeon-flyers and ping-pong-ball distributors and to taxi passengers driven by less-than-fragrant drivers. Beyond the Middle Kingdom, the world waited in anticipation to hear who would step up as the country’s CEO and who would be on the Board of Directors. The world’s media seemed transfixed, breathing with bate, as the world watched, carefully, who helped whom sit where, who strode up to the stage in front of whom, and, you know, other matters of international concern.
Among all the transitional talk comes reflections on China’s relationship with various nations; how the new boss(es) will do on that front. But here’s what nobody seems to be talking about: Culture.