Dos and Don’t: Chinese Culture

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Ashu Kaushik
  • Published December 28, 2009
  • Word count 474

Chinese people may be changing fast, however they are still highly traditional and very particular about their cultural values. Paying respect to their local customs will make your stay pleasant. Here are a few tips to assist you in avoiding any cultural faux pas.


• Always remove your shoe before entering a Chinese temple or home.

• Greeting the eldest person in a family first is considered as sign of respect and

• good values in China.

• A nod or a wave of hand is generally taken as a greeting especially from a distance.

• Touching someone’s head is considered sacred.

• Never point a finger towards someone. Pointing someone with a finger is considered bad. Such gesture is used for pointing at dogs.

• If presenting a gift to a Chinese person, present it with your both of your hands. This reflects that you are offering with good intentions.

• Whole-heartedly thank a person if he or she gives you a gift. Then keep the gift aside to open later.

• Be calm while dealing with officials especially during tense situations. Getting hyper or raising your voice will create an ugly and unhealthy situation for all.

• Eat whatever you are offered by your host. Refusing is considered rude.

• Keep your glass below that of the eldest person in a group while toasting. The glass of the eldest person is always held high.

• While having tea with a companion, always fill up his or her tea cup whenever it goes empty especially if your companion is older or a female.

• Chinese believe that it is bad luck to leave even a single grain behind in a bowl. So, better finish all of the rice in your bowl.

• Show your interest towards NBA Basket Ball as Chinese people love it.

• Always be punctual when meeting Chinese people. Punctuality reflects respect for others.


• In China, exam papers are not corrected in red ink since it’s used for letters of protest. However, anything else can be written with red ink.

• Do not leave your chopsticks in a standing position in your bowl and do not tap your bowl with them.

• Shaking feet is a sign of bad luck in China.

• Clocks are the best options for gifts to Chinese people.

• Do not date multiple people at one time. Dating one person at a time is considered good in China. Chinese people look forward to commitment and long-term relationships in dating. Going for a walk or dinner on a date is acceptable.

• Do not get offended if you are asked about your marital status. However, if you are single and over 30, say yes unless you feel pity for yourself.

• Wear those t-shirts that speak about good about China unless you want to grab lot of attention.

• When dubious about something, follow the proverb: watch Chinese people and do what they do.

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