OK, an airline isn't a military institution, but still. The 'chain of command' theory of management is hardly unique to Asia.
In North America, a lot of pilots are civilians who enter the airlines - because in North America, we have an affordable air system (General Aviation). In Europe, it's expensive, so only the rich can afford to fly GA. In Asia, it's unheard of (China's pretty much only got a handful of GA allowed airports).
As civilian pilots, it's a lot easier to be "flat" and say that everyone is responsible for the safety of the flight above all - the captain is just whoever occupies the left seat, but all is responsible. This is the basis of what we call today "Cockpit Resource Management", aka CRM. In any emergency, a skillful pilot flying (captain, copilot, whoever) will delegate tasks to everyone else (which also includes ATC and everyone who can help). The "Miracle on the Hudson" is a very stunning recent example of this.
But in Asia, this is not the case. In fact, the only way to fly in most countries is to join the military. As such, the national airlines are almost all pulled from ex-military pilots (they do poach a few civilian pilots from other countries). So now, you have established a military hierarchy in the cockpit. So the captain may have been a captain before leaving, and the copilot may be a Lt., and even though the copilot may have more experience in the plane, Captain trumps Lt., and military rank trumps all. The captain is "untouchable" for the flight and what he says is law.
EVEN. IF. HE. IS. WRONG.
It wasn't too long ago that even North American pilots were like this - the left seater trumps all. However, a brilliant set of realizations 50 years ago brought forth CRM and it took a few years to retrain everyone into this new line of thinking. It still did happen now and then, but frequency dropped significantly. These days, it's expected and taught, even to the single engine Cessna pilot - because the "C" can also mean "crew" - if you have passengers, have them keep a look out as well to ensure safety of flight.