If humans are not strange enough, Chinese people are even stranger, and this does not mean to be condescending. It's just it. In my observation, these face-loving people can't seem to give or take criticism honestly and directly to the person concern. And in the human workplace, this is most often confused with tact.
Mr. B. looks tired and unhappy tonight after yet again taking another round of implied, indirect, packaged insults from someone at the workplace today. He thinks the other person is too cowardly to criticize him directly and had to go through some long and winding road creating more confusion than clarity. He said he was upset because this means that the ball is in his court and he doesn't know what to do with it. Insult and degradation wrapped with insincere sensitivity and concern. Does one ignore it? Act on it? Tell the other person off? Why can humans just be simple in the way they communicate? Why the need to veil it with false empathy?
I ask Mr. B. "Don't you think you are more cowardly than the other person? Why not just tell that person to tell it straight to your face?"
He nodded and said he wants to go to bed.