This paper explores cross-cultural semiotics in adaptation in order to rethink the relationships between China and the West. The multi-dimensional model of cross-cultural research presented defends a temporal semiotic orientation, rather than a purely spatial approach for intercultural interpretation. The paper insists that in the age of globalization, cultural identity is unavoidably a very sharp question, and that multiple layers of meanings are involved in cultural identity. Thus, it explores differences and parallelisms between Western and Chinese semiotics, conservative and as well as unconventional approaches – misappropriation, transplantation, transfer and transformation – which appear in adaptations such as Journey to the West and Wolf Totem. Adaptations are contemplated as intercultural avenues for learning about the West and exporting Chinese culture to the world, showing the complexity of cross-cultural exchanges which are never merely one-directional and which include temporal mappings.