Memorisation is not the enemy. The difference between Chinese and western education will probably be found in etymology. Words related to education in Chinese tend to emphasise 'putting in' and words related to western concepts of education tend to emphasise 'bringing out'. It's not black and white, but there are cultural differences.
bringing out mm
I remember when I started teaching at universities in Taiwan about 10 years ago. I was shocked to see how difficult it is for many students to speak up (when reading something for example). Young women and men literally unable to raise their voice up to a level above whispering. Asking them to speak a little louder makes things worse cause it makes the students uncomfortable and nervous. 22 year old men can't unblock themselves when speaking alone, can't manage to speak loud enough so someone 2 meters away can understand. The body language is terrible. It is depressing.
Another "output problem" is that many students seem unable to answer the most simple question even if they know the answer.
I remember that a lecturer from China sitting in in one of my classes had a conversation with me after class.
"You're a good teacher" she observed, "I think your students like you" (true for the most part) "but you can't just ask them questions! They don't know how to deal with such a situation."
Not all students are the same - but 10 years have past, I changed universities and students, the situation is the same until this very day. My teaching has changed, I leave more and more space for "outer curriculum" stuff like talking about life, family, future and the students interests.