There are two sides to this story…
Denmark’s freedom of expression. China’s right to have their culture and flag respected.
Depending on your perspective, you may have a view which falls on one side or another. However, there is no ultimate right or wrong, they are just different perspectives.
The question is, do both sides understand why the other side feels the way it does about it? Have either side referenced the other’s right to react in the way they have, in making their point? Or has it become a matter of right and wrong?
If we are to live in a peaceful and collaborative, prosperous society, we must understand our own values, how they compare with other people’s and be willing to stretch to understand those other perspectives.
We don’t have to agree, we simply have to understand, and, then, if possible, try to find a collaborative solution. Or agree to disagree.
This requires CQ (TM): Cultural Intelligence.
The CQC, Cultural Intelligence Center, has done a great deal of academic research and determined there are 10 Cultural Values which are spectra upon which we all have a preference. Whether we are e.g. short-term or long termist, expressive or neutral, multi-taskers or focus-taskers.
The way we perceive freedom and respect differs across cultural norms, globally. Where we are in the world, our personal socialisation, education etc. determines how we would view the disagreement in this article.
How we would manage such a disagreement is down to our level of CQ.
Coming to an understanding of this kind needn’t bring a place into a state of anarchy where no one knows what’s right or wrong, or what our values are. We retain our core values and preferences, whilst gaining insight.
By truly being able to acknowledge someone else’s point of view we can enter the space for real consensus building, the secret to every successful relationship. Whether we’re a country, or an individual.
Compromise has become a dirty word, as if it’s come kind of concession or condescension. It’s a realistic approach to bring about a world where bridges are built, borders are removed and walls come tumbling down.
The question then remains – do they want to?
And that’s one of the core capabilities of CQ, wanting to. Having the motivation – CQ Drive – to push through the discomfort of facing difference, and coming out all the better for having and grown and learnt from it.
What should Denmark do? How should China respond?
The magazine needn’t do anything, but the politicians weighing in ought to acknowledge the slight. They can open up a conversation about satire and what is and isn’t acceptable in both cultures. And ultimately, I expect, agree to disagree. But with cordial recognition of the different perspectives.
No doubt the magazine would then post a satirical cartoon of the meetings, but at least then, those commenting would know how to handle it.