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Reading Comprehension for CLAT – Passage – 4

Reading Comprehension for CLAT – Passage – 4


Passage 4

The single most important and fundamental difference between Chinese and Occidental peoples is undoubtedly the role played by the individual in the society. In the West, we place a strong emphasis on personal achievement, creativity, and initiative. We glory in our individual differences, nurture them, and value them as the essential features that make us unique. Indeed, uniqueness is a goal unto itself in the West; it’s vitally important to us that we not be exactly like other people.

Who in the West hasn’t been admonished to be your own person, or to look out for yourself because no one else can be counted on to look out for you ? Who has never been praised for standing up for what you personally believe in, especially when the tide of opinion is flowing in the opposite direction ? Among Western peoples, the premium is not on conformity; it is on individual expression and rugged independence.

In China, on the other hand—and no matter which side of the Taiwan strait—children are given an entirely different set of messages. Don’t question the world around you or try to change it; accept it. Submit willingly and unquestioningly to authority. Your importance as an individual is not nearly as great as that of the role you play in a larger group.

That “larger group” may have appeared different in ancient China from what it looks like today. In Imperial China, it would have been one’s extended family—grandparents, father, mother, siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins of all descriptions, all of whom might well have lived together in the same compound. In modern day China, the group might be one’s nuclear family, one’s class at school, one’s military unit, fellow members of a delegation. …The situation varies; the dynamics, however, are much the same no matter what the group is.

Group process in China is not merely based on the authority of the leaders; there is a real premium on consensus. Matters are often debated at great length until agreement is reached on a course of action. And once a decision has been made, individual group members are expected to embrace it and act on it. This is one reason you will seldom hear a Chinese make an irreverent comment, or openly express a view at odds with that of his or her unit. Toeing the mark is important, and it is enforced.

In essence, Chinese enter into a sort of compact with their groups; in exchange for obedience and loyalty, they can expect protection and support and be confident that their well being will be a matter of concern to the group as a whole. Group membership requires that they subordinate their own wills to that of the whole and make decisions based on the best interests of the larger group, not personal selfishness. Chinese people must listen to those in authority and do as they say. And their actions, for good or ill, reflect not only on themselves but also on all of their compatriots. …

Telephone etiquette provides still another illustration of the pre–eminence of the group in Chinese society. You generally do not identify yourself personally when answering the telephone; what is deemed important is your work unit. The fact that common practice is to answer “I am the Ministry of Foreign Trade” rather than “I am Mr. Wang” speaks volumes about the relative importance of the individual and the group. So does the fact that it is units, and not individuals, that invite foreign guests, arrange activities for them, and sign contracts with them. …

Although Chinese people must be ever vigilant in fulfilling obligations to fellow group members, it’s important to note that as a rule they feel no comparable responsibility toward outsiders. Courtesy and hospitality are frequently not forthcoming when Chinese deal with people with whom they have no connections. Indeed, they are capable of treating one another with indifference that can border on cruelty. The “us-them” dichotomy often surfaces in the work of the government in the form of intractable bureaucratic rivalries that impede progress and innovation. It has sometimes been pointed out that one of the Chinese culture’s major failings is that its people just don’t know how to treat outsiders. Ironically but luckily, foreigners are generally exempt from this kind of treatment, their very foreignness earning them favourable treatment as honoured guests.

1. All of the following are in conformity with the author’s views in the passage, except that :

(1) Groups are given prime importance rather than individuals in a Chinese society.

(2) Individuality matters most rather than a group in the Western society.

(3) Hospitality is the governing aspect of Chinese etiquette.

(4) In a Chinese set up, the decision arrived at by the group are binding on the individuals.

2. Which of the following is not a characteristic feature of the Chinese way of life, as the passage makes it ?

(1) Emphasis on obedience and loyalty.

(2) Individual importance is submerged with that of the group.

(3) Units, not individuals, are responsible for Chinese exchange of trade, contracts and know-how.

(4) An individual is distinguished by the unique achievements irrespective of the achievements of the group.

3. As per the passage, the Chinese :

(1) emphasise on toeing the mark.

(2) do not encourage an open disagreement of an established view.

(3) arrive at a decision on a matter on consensus, often preceded by a debate and not as per the leader’s authority.

(4) All of the above.

4. According to the passage, the “group” referred to, is :

(1) an all encompassing term and covers all of the family, organisation, association or an assembly.

(2) the state, the formulator and administrator of policies.

(3) regarding the members of the family that founded the Chinese ideology.

(4) None of the above.

5. All of the following are false in relation to the passage, except that :

(1) Chinese society is undemocratic and deprives the individual of freedom.

(2) A member of the group is assured of protection and support by the group, in exchange for obedience and loyalty.

(3) Chinese are not a progressive lot.

(4) China has emerged as a strong nation with the enforcement of this way of life.

6. Which of the following would be a major failing of the Chinese culture ?

(1) People live in subdued condition, in a state of perpetual fear and anxiety.

(2) Business has not geared and picked up to the extent desirable.

(3) People have not widened their out look or expanded their horizons.

(4) Outsiders are given a raw treatment.

7. The Chinese way of living can best be synopsised by which of the following ?

(1) Many hands make light work.

(2) The culture and tradition of a nation is the sum total of the culture and tradition of the individual constituents that go to make it.

(3) One for all and all for one.

(4) Problems are best surmounted collectively.

8. A suitable title for the passage could be:

(1) Varying Cultures In The World.

(2) Occident Vs The Chinese Culture.

(3) Living In A Group – The Chinese Way.

(4) Loyalty And Obedience Pays.

9. The passage is handled in a manner which is:

(1) informative

(2) monotonous

(3) vague

(4) ideological

10. Which of the following, as per the passage, is indicative of the fundamental difference between the culture of the Occident and the Chinese ?

(1) Importance is given to the spiritual way of life rather than the temporal one, in the Chinese tradition, which is absent in the Occident one.

(2) Stress is on the individual rather than on society, in the Occident way of life, which absent in the Chinese pattern of living.

(3) Absence of bureaucracy in both Chinese as well as the Occident setup.

(4) Business ethics more well defined in Chinese society than in the Occident one.

11. From the passage it can be concluded that Chinese believe in:

(1) the united manner of living, each member of a unit working for its well being.

(2) the single pattern of living with individuals going about their own way.

(3) promoting the skills and talents of the individual.

(4) learning from other cultures and traditions.


Reading Comprehension asked under English section in CLAT can be assumed to be an easy and ‘ not to be left ‘ section (Easy because all the answers are contained in the passage itself). It all depends on your ability to read a particular passage in a given time (usually 5-7 minutes) and then answer the questions based on the passage. Those who have been scoring low in Reading Comprehension, it’s never too late. Become a voracious reader. Read anything (particularly standard newspapers) that your hands can lay on and then see the difference in your performance (Time management is also a must in this case.)

All the Best!

The above write-up has been contributed by The Knowledge Tree, Patna’s premier coaching institute for CLAT and other law entrance exams like AILET, SET, LSAT etc.




CLAT Gurukul is contributing to the Law Entrance Test form a long time and achieved a great rank in terms of Law Entrance Exam Preparation Institutes. Every Competitive exam needs Speed And Accuracy and these are what exactly matters in these kind of exam.



CLAT Gurukul is contributing to the Law Entrance Test form a long time and achieved a great rank in terms of Law Entrance Exam Preparation Institutes. Every Competitive exam needs Speed And Accuracy and these are what exactly matters in these kind of exam.

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