China has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. When you visit China, it is always a good idea to follow local rules and social customs to avoid offending anyone or leading to a misunderstanding.
Here we have listed ten things you should avoid while visiting China. These tips are important whether you go there for the first time or if you are living there now.
1 DO NOT PLACE A PAIR OF CHOPSTICKS DIRECTLY INTO THE RICE AND LEAVE THEM THERE
One of the most important China travel tips is to not put chopsticks into the rice and leave them there when you are eating Chinese food.
Because of Chinese culture and habits, for Chinese people, this evokes memories of the incense sticks burned at funerals and other ceremonies during which the Chinese venerate their ancestors. Thus, foreign tourists should know that this is considered impolite and is said to bring bad luck among Chinese citizens.
2 AVOID BECOMING ANGRY IN FRONT OF OTHERS
“To keep the face” is a common practice in China, emphasising the importance of patience. “Keeping the face” is important in Chinese society, as well as keeping one’s cool.
If you lack control and become angry, you will lose respect among the local people. The main reason for this is that the Chinese frown upon public displays of anger and find that synonymous with humiliating others.
Because the Chinese emphasise group harmony, the best way is to avoid interrupting others by displaying anger publicly, and rather leave your anger for personal space.
3 AVOID BEING TOO DIRECT
One thing that might be different from your own country, is that it is considered impolite in China to refuse someone who has approached you and then create a conflict.
An important China travel tip is to find a way to communicate your message so that you can politely imply that you disagree with others rather than saying “no” directly.
4 DO NOT NEGLECT THE GIFT ETIQUETTE IN CHINA
Gift etiquette is crucial in China. Gift-giving and receiving should be done with both hands. Why not look at the gift as it is your friend, and give it and receive it carefully with both hands!
Do remember that many people will initially decline a gift before accepting it, out of politeness
Often, gifts are opened after the recipient has left, rather than while they are still present.However, the most critical aspect of gifts is that you should feel obligated to return the favour whenever possible.
5 DO NOT KEEP YOUR SHOES ON WHEN IT IS NOT APPROPRIATE
Always show that you are ready to remove your shoes and refrain from wearing them inside other people’s homes. This is more for hygiene reasons and is widely accepted in China.
Your host will usually provide you with house shoes or slippers to wear.
Ensure that you are wearing the slippers that are provided to you as a guest.
Some hosts may say that you can wear shoes, in which case you do not need to take them off.
6 DO NOT RUSH TO EAT YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD WHILE SHARING A MEAL WITH OTHERS
If you eat together with others, you should first reach out to take the food closest to you to show that you are not picky and greedy.
If your favourite food is further away, you can wait a little bit and then reach out for those dishes later.
7 AVOID TALKING WITH FOOD IN YOUR MOUTH
8 IN MANY INSTANCES, IT IS PREFERABLE NOT TO "GO DUTCH"
If you invite Chinese people to lunch or dinner, you will be expected to pay. If someone invites you to something in China, they are expected to pay for your attendance.
On other occasions, paying for the meal when sharing lunch or dinner is a very nice gesture. While the other party frequently refuses to pay, they should eventually relent if you persist.
However, if you and your colleagues are eating, it is completely fine to split the bill, as you often eat together.
9 AVOID ADDRESSING CERTAIN PEOPLE BY THEIR FIRST NAMES
When speaking to someone significantly older than you, you can, out of respect, address them in Mandarin Chinese by saying ā yí 阿姨 aunt or shū shu 叔叔 uncle.
You can use ā yí 阿姨 aunt to address women older than you who are not in your family, and shū shu 叔叔 uncle when you address men older than you.
You can also address the elderly by their family position, for example, yé yé 爷爷 grandfather or nǎi nai 奶奶 grandmother. When addressing people in high positions, you use surname plus title. For example, Wáng jīnglǐ 王经理 Wang manager. In Chinese, a title comes after the surname.
10 DO NOT NEGLECT CHINESE TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND CULTURE
While China has developed a lot in recent years, whether you are in big cities or in the countryside, visiting tourist attractions like the Forbidden City or the Great Wall of China, going there for studies or business etc. you will find that it is still a culturally a traditional country.
So when you communicate with your Chinese host, visit local companies, visit major cities, talk to taxi drivers or visit Chinese restaurants, it is wise to follow the local laws and customs. While there sometimes might be a language barrier in the communication, if you do your utmost to avoid sensitive subjects, act as the locals do and offend others, you will have a good time and enjoy your stay in China among friendly Chinese people.
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