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AP Chinese



Unit 2

2.1 Personal Identity and Evolution

5 min readoctober 29, 2020


Emily Guo

AP Chinese  🇨🇳

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Unit 2 Overview


Image Courtesy of pxhere

This unit focuses on exploring identities, both personal 🤫 and public 📢, and how Chinese language and culture affects and influences them. As you work through this unit, think about these questions❓ :
  1. How does one’s identity evolve over time? (一个人的自我身份认知随着时间如何改变?)
  2. How does language shape our cultural identity? (语言是如何塑造我们的文化认同?)
  3. How does technology influence the development of personal and public identity? (科学技术是如何影响到个人和地区的成长?)
  4. How does the art of a community reflect its public identity? (一个社区的艺术是如何反映它的公共行为和特征?)

2.1: Personal Identity Evolution 🆔

🤔我到底是谁?💭我的存在是为了什么?我相信什么?These may be some questions you have been asked or even considered yourself. In so many situations, you are asked to describe yourself 😕. Starting from a young age, you can be asked to describe your interests, hobbies, and personality. When you age, you are expected to respond in more detail and give examples of who you are. Knowing how to express yourself in Chinese is important for AP Chinese. You may be asked to explain details about your personality and other details on how you identify yourself in Chinese.

Image Courtesy of publicdomainvectors

When talking about the LGBTQ+ community and non-binary individuals, the Chinese language and culture are very restricted. Given this, thousands of years of restrictions are hard to erase, and it is still a work in progress. There are a couple of terms that can be used, although they aren't as commonly known as they should be. 你 (nǐ) can be used for any gender/non-binary as well as . Since didn't exist until the New Culture Movement in the 1910s and 1920s, 他/他们 can be used to refer to they/them.

Religion 🕍

In China, the official Communist Party of China is atheist, however, there are five recognized religions by the party. Any other religion is not accepted, except old and traditional Chinese practices. The five religions are Buddhism ☸️, Catholicism ☦️, Daoism ☯️, Protestantism ✝️, and Islam ☪️. Religious groups and believers must be registered.
From data obtained by the China Family Panel Studies in 2014, about 73.5% of people are unaffiliated with religion, or practice Chinese folk religion. Since many do not consider Chinese folk religion a "religion", that number may be larger. Roughly 16% of Chinese practice Buddhism, with folk sects and the Taoist Church coming in at number 3 with about 7.5%. Christians make up about 2.5% and Islam fills up the remaining 0.5% as a minority.
The image below was taken inside a Buddhist temple in China.

Image Courtesy of Snappy Goat

Education 📖

Education 📚 is considered vital in China, as many old proverbs in China say that to increase one's social class, they must be educated. One of these proverbs is 玉不琢,不成器 (yù bù zhuó, bù chéng qì), which means that one has to be educated to be useful. Every year, there are about 8 million graduates in Chinese colleges and universities. That number is more than the number of graduates each year from the US and India put together!
The Compulsory Education Law in China states that all children have to finish at least nine years of education, and they are currently pushing for more and more literacy among its citizens. In Beijing, the literacy rate was almost 99% in 2014 and Shanghai had a literacy rate of almost 97%, also in 2014.

🤔 What Makes a Chinese Person Chinese?

As mentioned in the Unit 1 Guide, China has a gigantic population 📈. Not only does it have the largest population, about 1.393 billion, but it is also the third largest country in land size! There are also many immigrant Chinese people spread out throughout the world. This means that there are Chinese people almost everywhere you go 🧳! It has the secnd largest economy, developed through its extensive production speed.


Image Courtesy of TMO Group

In China, working overtime is very common. There is a limit of 44 hours per week. However, many don't follow this and continue to work tens of hours of overtime each week. A common system used is known as the 996 working hour system. Many jobs in the tech industry have their employees follow this system, working a 9 am to 9 pm job for 6 days a week. This adds up to 72 hours every week. Many argue that this can have dangerous impacts on the health of employees.
Annual, paid leave, is based on how many years someone has been employed. If you have worked less than one year, you have no ❌ paid leave. If you have worked 1 to 10 years, you have 5 days of annual leave. If you have worked 10 to 20 years, you have 10 days of leave. And any work over 20 years, you have 15 days of annual leave.
Holidays are required to be paid 💲 days. For Chinese employees, these include New Year's Day, Lunar New Year's Day, Qing Ming Festival, Labor Day, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, and National Day.


For many Chinese people, keeping your word and saving face is very important. Staying generally polite 🙇 and having the respect of others can be the most important value for some. Modesty is a common trait as well, especially for those who are successful 👩‍💼. There is an old proverb in China that suggests the idea of having fame as a bad thing and will bring trouble.

Image Courtesy of UC San Diego News Center

Many Chinese struggle with expressing their feelings, even among their own families. Staying within a group, such as how immigrants tend to form groups with other Chinese immigrants, is a force of habit for many. There are many forums and blogs that connect millions of Chinese immigrants around the world, such as huaren.us for North America.
With communication, many believe in less talking and more thinking. Conversations tend to include many metaphors and dancing around the subject without getting straight to the point. Mental health in China is very stigmatized, as keeping your mouth shut about issues is seen as "strong", while those who seek help are considered "weak".

Strive for Five Vocab! 🔑🔑

  • 我(wǒ)- I/me/myself
  • 年龄(niánlíng)- Age
  • 性倾向(xìng qīngxiàng)- Sexual Orientation
  • 变性人(biànxìng rén)- Transgender Person
  • 非二元性别(Fēi èr yuán xìngbié)- Non-binary Gender
  • 异性恋者(yìxìng liàn zhě)- Heterosexual
  • 同性恋者(tóngxìngliàn zhě)- Gay/Lesbian Person
  • 酷儿(kù er)- Queer
  • 宗教(zōngjiào)- Religion
  • 无神论者(wúshénlùn zhě)- Atheist
  • 佛教(fójiào)- Buddhism
  • 天主教(tiānzhǔjiào)- Catholicism
  • 道教(dàojiào)- Daoism
  • 识字率(shìzì lǜ)- Literacy Rate
  • 加班(jiābān)- Overtime
  • 996 工作制(996 gōngzuò zhì)- 996 Working Hour System
  • 年假(niánjià)- Annual Leave
  • 谦虚(qiānxū)- Modesty
  • 精神健康(jīngshén jiànkāng)- Mental Health

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