A western figurative painting is meant to reproduce an actual view of the scene whereas a classical Chinese landscape is based on an imaginative, inner or spiritual approach. The Chinese art aims at achieving the essence of inner life and spirit while the European form of art is trying to achieve a perfect illusionistic liking.
The European painter wants the viewer to borrow his eyes, and look at a particular exactly as he saw it, from a specific angle. On the other hand, the Chinese painter does not choose a single view point. His landscape is not a real one. He does not want the viewers to borrow his eyes. He wants the beholder to enter his mind. One can enter a Chinese landscape from any point and move across leisurely and come back. The Chinese view of art also requires an active participation of the viewer. This participation is both physical and mental.
The stories about the paintings of Wu Daozi and an old story from Flanders amply illustrate the difference.