Forums > Living in Kunming > "Lying" in China, An Opinion
Assuming this is more focused on business relationships than personal, although the two are remarkably similar, the quote is an interesting, but rather limited socio-economic stereotype on an extraordinarily diverse and complicated society.
In my personal opinion based on limited personal experience and hence limited sampling sizes across limited locales, lying is used by the uneducated and uncultured and is akin to upselling - an attempt to enhance something inferior, for personal benefit or gain, often at the expense of the unsuspecting, gullible, or trusting victim.
On the other side of the spectrum - the wealthier, more powerful, affluent, etc. lying is used to deceive, in an attempt to hide or downplay one's true strength, power, or resources. Sometimes is just false or faux humility, as demanded by Confucian, Dao, and Buddhist precepts. It is a form of self defense and self-preservation. Lying is also a form of bluff.
In a populous nation of upsellers trying to access resources - lying, deception, or upselling becomes the norm when interacting with potential resources, hence the logic for guanxi based professional relationships. Guanxi, in my personal experience, is either abused for high risk win-lose propositions, or is effectively used for potential win-win relationships, based on trust.
It's just an opinion, based on very limited personal experiences and observations and I'm not making a judgmental (hopefully not) statement - it's the apparent pervasive and persistent status quo and is something that needs to be managed, if one wishes to do business in China - or any developing nation with similarly evolving and developing characteristics.
In the west, I've personally witnessed major western multinational corporations exhibit design fraud, accounting fraud, contract fraud, using their brands to peddle their ilk.
So fraud and lying is merely a perception and a reality that must be identified (quickly), managed, and controlled to minimize the risk of victimization (for all stakeholders).
It's not the lie which we must manage, it's the intent, as the intent is the root cause. And intent is difficult to root out.