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China Facts: Chinese Etiquette

(People's Daily Online)

15:55, June 21, 2012

China is a country that has long been known for its ceremonies and etiquette through the ages. However, it can be something of a culture shock when it comes to the differences between the social niceties between China and the western world. The following is an introduction to the daily manners and courtesies of social life in China.

In different countries, people have different ways of greetings. Before your China trip, do you want to learn something practical about Chinese people's greeting etiquette? In this section, you can get some knowledge of how Chinese people greet with each other. Hope it helps.

Make Introductions
In this section, you can learn some Chinese about how to introduce yourself to others and some tips of self-introduction.

An introduction is the first step to establish an interpersonal relationship. A successful introduction makes the people being introduced feel closer and creates a good first impression.

With regard to introducing yourself there is little difference between China and elsewhere. It is considered polite to give your full name, job positions and the place you work for, especially on more formal occasions. Only your full name with a simple greeting is enough on informal occasions.

Being introduced
If someone is making the introductions, to introduce your self is considered disrespectful. So when it is your turn to be introduced, stand up, smile and look at the people also being introduced with ease. After being introduced, you can shake hands with each other and give mutual greetings, sometimes with an exchange of calling cards.

Introduce to others
In China, there are many strict conventional rules on introduction to others:
a. The junior should be introduced to the senior first;
b. The male should be introduced to the female first;
c. The inferior should be introduced to the superior first;
d. The host should be introduced to the guest first.

These ways of introduction is to show high respect to the senior, the female, the superior and the guest. However, if you are in a generally more informal occasion, the introduction to others can be less ceremonious.

It's said that the comity of handshaking originated in remote antiquity. At that time, human beings lived on hunting. If they happened to meet a stranger, they would throw their hunting tools aside and laid open the hands to show the person. With the change of eras, this action has become etiquette in people's life.

Table Manners
Like the people in western countries, the Chinese are particular about the table manners. Through this section, you will have an acquaintance with how to use chopsticks correctly and other manners about dining.

Family Visiting
Maybe, it's the first time that you have come to China and you haven't called at any Chinese family before. Here, you can get some very practical tips of a Chinese family visiting. Especially, Chinese people are very particular about the amenity of 'courtesy demands reciprocity'. In China, giving a gift often happens. This is a very important etiquette in communication.


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