Every country has its own set of beliefs, traditions and its own culture that make them unique. China is one such nation with a rich history and traditions that date back thousands of years. As a tourist, an immigrant new to the country, or even as a foreigner meeting or interacting with Chinese people for the first time, there are some common day practices that you should avoid, and certain things that should be incorporated, which often include the need to learn chinese language in order to adjust well. Here are some important aspects of the Chinese etiquette you need to know as a foreigner to make sure you start off on the right foot.
The Chinese have some of the most unusual etiquettes when it comes to food. First and foremost, their use of chopsticks is well known around the world. However, you need to adhere to certain etiquette. While we may often leave food with spoons in it, and often with forks, or knives upright, you should never leave chopsticks upright in a rice bowl. This is an indication, and a ritual for the Chinese of an offering made to the dead. Similarly, make sure your chopsticks are not in your hand when you make a gesture as it is considered impolite. On the other hand, burping loudly is considered a compliment to the chef.
Foremost, the Chinese consider it almost an offence to be talked to in a language other than their own in their own country. Thus, it is extremely important to learn the Chinese language. Moreover, spitting loudly in China is not considered rude and is very common, therefore, frowning upon or commenting on such practices is not preferred. Tipping servers at a restaurant are common practice almost all around the world, however, in China, it is considered offensive. Similarly, pointing a finger is also considered rude in some areas, specifically with the Tibetan population.
Way of life
The Chinese way of life is different, and as a foreigner, you should not show any negative feelings or expressions towards their way of life. For example, the Chinese love taking pictures with foreigners and you may be asked for a picture a lot. This is a sign of friendliness, and the offer should not be rejected. Similarly, it is common for the Chinese to take a nap in the streets as well as on trains or buses. Therefore it is best not to disturb them.
Similarly, the Chinese consider accepting compliments a sign of vanity and may reject any compliment given. Contrarily, do not accept any compliment either. Another unusual practice in China includes turning down gifts several times before accepting them. This is a part of their customs that a gift should be refused several times before it is accepted, therefore do not be offended if your gift is rejected.
Adjusting well to China takes more than simply learning the Chinese language in Singapore, you have to keep in mind the cultural differences throughout China.