What Are Some Major Social Faux Aas To Avoid When Visiting China?
1. Meeting people
elders/high ranking people first.
as a man, do not shake hands with a woman, unless she offers it first.
do not cover a woman's hand with two hands or grab
unlike in Europe or the US, a handshake should be light, not firm.
stand up when people greet you.
wait for elders/higher ups/hosts to sit before you do; wait until a you are assigned a seat according to your position in the group.
when receiving a business card, accept it with both hands and do not immediately put it away - NEVER throw it away where people can see
looking into peoples eyes for longer may be considered impolite/offensive
when receiving a compliment
do not accept it with a plain "thank you", instead say something like "only so-so", "no, not so good", "only a little", to show moderation
do not brag
do praise others (especially in front of other people)
when you want to refuse (e.g. a requested favor) do not say "no" say that you will try, think about it, maybe do it etc. (if you hear these from a Chinese person, it basically means "no")
3. Table manners
wait for your hosts to assign you a seat
wait for the main host to start eating before you do
wait for a toast to be made to drink your beer
when toasting, it is good manners to try and get your glass below the one of the higher/equal ranking person
if you do not wish to drink alcohol, give a "good" reason in the beginning
do not stick your chopsticks in the rice bowl
do not finish a dish (this signals it was not enough food)
do not take only of the one dish you like most
if your someone puts food on your plate, at least taste, better eat it all
avoid anything numbered "4" (symbolizes death, better are 2, 3, 6, 8)
no watches or clocks (death)
no pears to couples (breakup)
no green hats (infidelity)