is always regarded as the Nation of Etiquette. According to western
norms some Chinese behaviors are impolite. The reason for that lies
in the different cultural and historical views of social manners.
In order to avoid unnecessary mistakes and embarrassment during
communications, a better understanding of Chinese etiquette is important.
Handshaking is considered formal greeting behavior in China. It
is used to show respect when people meet on the formal occasions.
Handshaking should be firm, but not overly strong, and should not
be prolonged because Chinese, like other Asians, prefer a brief
handshake. After shaking hands, you may introduce yourself and exchange
your name card. Kiss and hug are not normal manners in China.
Chinese “Mianzi” (face)
Mianzi, commonly referred to as 'face', is a reflection of a person's
social status among the people. Having 'face' means you are respected
by others. As a foreigner, it is not necessary to take Mianzi too
seriously when engaged in discussions that may be confusing. Mianzi
can be understood as the avoidance of embarrassment in front of
others. You should not insult, embarrass, demean and yell at a person
because that will result in making him loose his “mianzi”. Neither
try to prove someone wrong nor shout at him in public. In order
to get a successful effect without letting a Chinese lose “face”,
any criticism should be delivered privately, discreetly and tactfully.
Chinese “Guanxi” (relations between people)
Chinese people really attach great importance on “Guanxi”, which
means relationship between people. Good and rich social relations
or personal relations are always regarded as a symbol of one person’s
ability and influence. To establish good relations with Chinese
people will be much helpful for your business and trip in China.
Gift plays important roles in Chinese daily life. Chinese people
always send gifts to each other on festivals or when they pay a
visit to each other. It is a courtesy to present a gift to your
Chinese counterpart. However there are some taboos for sending gifts.
The gift packaging should be red or any other festive color. White
and black are ominous and should be avoided. It is not proper, and
is even considered to be unfortunate, to send a clock as a gift
because the pronunciation of “sending clock” in Chinese is similar
to another word which means attending upon a dying person. No. 4
is also a taboo because it sounds like death in Chinese. When you
present a gift please do not parade the gift in front of the recipient,
and you should use both hands when presenting it. Generally, the
recipient may graciously refuse the present when first offered.
In this case, you should correctly assess the situation and present
it once again. If the recipient did not open your gift, it does
not mean that he or she is not interested in it. It is polite to
open it after you leave. When you visit a Chinese family you can
bring them chocolates, fruits, wine and flowers. When your Chinese
friends entertain you they will try to offer you much more food
in order to show their hospitality. They will also toast you frequently.
Even you don’t drink it is polite to drink a little bit otherwise
they will feel disappointed.
“Keqi” in Chinese not only means considerate, polite, and well
mannered, but also represents humbleness and modesty. Keqi is a
good manner in Chinese culture. It is impolite to be arrogant and
brag about oneself in China. The expression is most often used in
the negative, as in buyao keqi, meaning "you shouldn't be so
kind and polite to me," or "you're welcome."
If you follow the usual rules of etiquette in China, you will properly
extend your respect to the Chinese and you will be respected by
them also. But there is no need to worry more about the cultural
barriers because the friendly Chinese will try their best to understand
and respect your customs when communicating.