Chinese Etiquette

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Who can tell me something about Chinese names?TOP

A modern Chinese name consists of two parts, the family name and a given name. Totally different from the names in most countries and cultures outside China, Chinese names are written with the surname first and the given name at the end. Take the famous basketball player Yao Ming as an example, Yao is his family name while Ming is the given name. Thus, please remember to address him Mr. Yao instead of Mr. Ming if you have the chance.

Chinese Family Name
There are thousands of Chinese surnames, but the actual number is never confirmed. Among them, about 100 are commonly seen, known as One Hundred Family Names (百家姓). The most common surnames in China include Li (李), Wang (王), Zhang (张), Liu (刘), Chen (陈), Yang (杨) and Zhao (赵). The majority of Chinese surnames comprise only one character, but there are a few ones compose of two characters, which are called compound surname and derived from noble, official titles and professions, and usually found in the ethnic minority groups.
Chinese Given Name
In general, Chinese given names have one or two characters and those characters can be taken from any of the thousands of Chinese characters, meaning the range of the names is practically limitless. The given name conveys rich connotation reflecting and representing all forms of nature and characteristics. In some Chinese families, all members of one generation may share a same character of the two in the given names. Take a famous Chinese novel “A Dream of Red Mansions” for an example. The main four sisters in the novel were named 元春 (Yuan chun), 迎春 (Ying chun), 探春 (Tan chun), and 惜春 (Xi chun).
What is the Chinese meeting etiquette?TOP

1) Dress appropriately and arrive at the meeting on time or slightly early.

2) Greetings are formal and remember to greet the seniors first.

3) Handshakes are the most common form of greeting with anyone.

4) Take the pre-scheduled seat if any. If you are not sure, please do ask the person concerned.

5) Address newly-met people by an honorific title and their family name.

6) A direct but soft eye contact and smile would be appreciated.

7) No interruption in the middle of anyone's conversation, contradict later if you wish to.

What are etiquette and taboos concerning gifts in China?TOP

1) Generally speaking, presents are given at a good many occasions in China, such as traditional festivals, birthdays, weddings, house-warming parties, or even just visiting a friend's home and so forth

2) Gifts are supposed to be presented with both hands in order to show respect.

3) Gifts are not supposed to be unwrapped immediately, in front of the giver.

4) The following items are not suitable to be given to Chinese as gifts for they are associated with death or bad luck: clocks, straw sandals, a stork of crane.

5) Pears and umbrella are not appropriate gifts to couples because the pronunciation of them sound rather like “separation” in Chinese.

6) Scissors, knives or any other utensils with sharp ends are not a brilliant choice for presenting to Chinese friends since they have the implication of cutting off the relationship.

What is the Dinning Etiquette in China?TOP

1) Arrive on time and bring a small gift to the host.

2) When coming to the table, the host would offer the guest to take the seat first and juniors would be seated after the seniors.

3) The host often starts eating first and offers the first toast.

4) It would be great if you can use the chopsticks deftly, but if not, please do not feel hesitate to request the knife and fork to prevent any farce.

5) No sticking the chopsticks upright in the bowl of rice.

6) No speaking with mouth full.

7) No tapping on the bowl with the chopsticks,

8) Try to eat the food that is offered to you.

9) Put bones or other inedible parts of the food away on the table or on the side of the plate.

Is there any dress code for the Beijing Duck Dinner,opera and the Tang Dynasty Dance and Music Show?TOP

Basically, Chinese aren't particularly stringent on the dress code issues. People put on formal clothes only at important occasions, such as wedding, party, business gathering, offices and so on. Casual daily wear would do just fine for the Beijing Duck Dinner. For the opera and the Tang Dynasty Dance and Music Show, a slightly formal get-up would be better, such as shirt and suite.

How should I greet Chinese people?TOP

How should I greet Chinese people? Chinese people do not hug, kiss each other, either on the lips, cheeks or hands, under normal circumstances, only except for families and very close acquaintances. A simple smile is the universal language that could quickly elicit friendly ambience among strangers and needs no translation. At the formal occasions, handshakes are the standard for meeting strangers. As probably well-known across the world now, “ni hao” (你好), meaning “Hello”, is the greeting that can never go wrong in the country.

How can you gain "face" in Chinese culture?TOP

“Face”, or Mianzi, is quite important to Chinese people which has the meaning of pride and dignity. There are four types of  “face” commonly used in Chinese culture. 

Liu mainzi 留面子 “grant face, give (someone ) a chance to regain lost honor”
Diu mianzi 失面子 “lose face”, this is when one’s actions or deeds have been exposed to people
Zheng mianzi 争面子 “fight for face; keeping up with the Joneses”
Gei mianzi 给面子 “give face; involves the giving of face to others through showing respect”

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