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中国礼仪文化 Dos & Don'ts in China
   2014-06-11 10:09:52    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Qin Mei

中国自古有"礼仪之邦"的美誉,尽管现在中国社会生活变化很大,但很多礼仪习惯还是延续下来.要避免不必要的尴尬和不愉快, 了解生活中有哪些禁忌还是有必要的.
China is known as "a nation of courtesy and propriety". Although the country is undergoing change at a rapid pace, it remains a highly traditional society. Here are some tips to help newcomers fit in and avoid making gaffes.

Giving and receiving a gift

  • Present and receive gifts with both hands.
  • The following gifts should be avoided:

    1.Clocks of any kind. The word clock in Chinese "钟"(zhōng) sounds the same as the expression for the ending of a life "终"(zhōng).

    2.Pears. The word pear in Chinese "梨"(lí )sounds the same as "离"(lí ) which means "to separate" and is considered unlucky.

    3.White or yellow flowers (especially chrysanthemums), which are used for funerals.
  • Chinese people generally do not unwrap gifts upon being presented with them as this is considered impolite. Gifts should only be opened after you have left the place you received them. More senior Chinese people do not usually accept a gift when it is first presented to them; politely refusing a gift a few times to start with is thought to reflect modesty and humility, whilst accepting in haste makes one look aggressive and greedy.
  • When wrapping gifts, avoid using white or black-coloured wrapping paper. Consider red or other festive colors.

Table Manners

  • Do not place your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl since this symbolizes wishing death upon somebody at the table due to its resemblance to a shrine for a deceased person. You should not tap your bowl with chopsticks either.
  • Make sure the spout of the teapot does not point towards anyone, as this is considered impolite. Teapots are usually placed on a table with their spouts facing outwards.
  • Making a toast --You'd better stand up if it's a formal occasion.
  • At a banquet or during formal occasions, it is considered polite to sample all the dishes, and at the end of the meal you should leave a little on your plate to demonstrate the host's generosity in providing a plentiful amount of food.

Other Points

  • Embracing or kissing when greeting someone or saying good-bye is highly unusual in China. Do not slap them on their backs, hug or put your arm around someone's shoulder, as this will make a Chinese person feel uncomfortable since they do not like being touched by strangers. Of course, you can do so if you are friends.
  • Punctuality is considered a virtue in China. Being on time shows respect for others. Chinese people tend to show up a bit earlier than scheduled for appointments to show their earnestness.
  • Do not overreact when asked personal questions regarding marital status, family, age, job or income, by people you have just met because this is usually done to seek common ground.
  • The number four, pronounced si in China, is considered bad luck because it has the same phonetic spelling in Chinese as the word death 死 (sǐ ). Some buildings do not have a fourth floor or a room number 4 – with the numbering going straight from 3 to 5! In contrast, the number 8, pronounced bā, is similar to the Chinese word 发 (fā) which means "to become rich", and is considered very lucky.
  • Mianzi (face) is a fragile commodity in China. The easiest way to cause someone to lose face is to criticize him/her in front of others. When asked to do something in a group of people, it is advisable not to directly say "no". A better approach would be to prompt the questioner to withdraw his request by replying, "Yes, but it will be difficult" as an alternative, since a direct refusal may cause embarrassment and loss of face.
  • If you suggest a dinner to someone, you're implicitly inviting that person as your guest, and will be expected to foot the bill.
  • Tipping is not practiced in China. 


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