Textual transmission is viewed in the West typically as a destructive process that results in ever greater corruption and error in a text, and
the enterprise of textual criticism in correspondingly seen as the task of restoring the damaged text to a form as close to its original as possible. In China such a negative view of the process of textual transmission does not normally obtain, and textual criticism therefore does not carry the image of being primarily a rehabilitative procedure.
An important part of the reason for the different perception of the consequences of textual transmission and of the goals of textual criticism lies with the nature of the writing systems involved. Western texts in alphabetic scripts directly reveal errors at the level below that of the word, e.g., spelling errors, grammar errors, pronunciation errors, etc., for which no interpretation is available save that of seeing them as mistakes. Orthographic errors in Chinese texts, written in logographic script, are not prone to such immediate identification as mistakes. All variants in a text written in a logographic script have the potential to be meaningful and therefore are perceived as different, but are not stigmatized automatically as wrong.