Chinese Culture Tips

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Traditional lion dance

China, one of the world’s most ancient continuous civilizations, has evolved its own set of etiquette and cultural practices that members of its society use. Foreign individuals visiting China for recreational or business purposes will find ways of interaction similar to those in their home countries, as well as practices that are unique to China. Knowing a few Chinese culture tips can help you transition into Chinese society quickly and comfortably.

Gift-Giving

As in many Asian cultures, gifts are seen as an act of common courtesy. Gifts are always given when attending an important event, such as a wedding. Gifts are also often taken when you are invited to a friend’s house. Food is a common gift. However, gifts should never be given publicly. They should instead be discreetly handed to the recipient. This avoids the perception that the gift-give is proud.

Chinese give lucky money on New Year
Chinese give lucky money on New Year

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Introduction by Seniority

When introducing previously unacquainted people, the younger individual is always introduced to the senior, to honor the older person. When introducing two people of the same age, the individual holding a lesser social or economic rank is introduced to the member deemed to be higher in the social scale. If introducing two people, one of whom you already know, the known individual is introduced to the stranger.

Chinese family eating together
Chinese family eating together

Conversations

Always make eye contact when talking with a Chinese individual. Nodding is also seen as a display of attentiveness, rather than an act of affirmation. If conversing for business purposes, such as in a business meeting or conference, let the decision-maker carry the bulk of the conversation or you will be seen as being arrogant or proud.