Culture dictates many things concerning our lives and our immediate surroundings. So it comes with no surprise that that is also true of China and it's culture. Culture can affect things such as our eating habits to our clothes to the way we build our houses and roads. Culture is build on years of beliefs, traditions and arts that cultivate the culture you see today.
Here are our interesting cultural facts about China that might help you understand why things are done a certain way.
Before we can ruminate on Chinese culture, we must discuss the impact of Confucius. Confucius was born in 551 BC and lived to become a well known teacher, editor, politician and philosopher. His philosophies went on to shape Chinese culture of centuries to come.
His emphasis was very much on the familial structure and respect for authority. He imposed a Golden Rule; "Do not do unto other what you do not want done to yourself" and suggesting government should be built on familial values.
The Confucian effect can still be felt today.
Presents will be rejected!
With Confucius teachings comes humbleness. This can be observed in many cultures across the world. The refusal to accept gifts. However, once a gift is accepted here in China, chances are you won't see it being open in front of you - especially in a business environment. This is out of respect for your own feelings! They avoid the awkwardness of pretending to be pleased with a less-than-pleasing choice of gift by sparing both themselves and you the situation as a whole.
So don't mistaken it for lack of appreciation, if anything, its an appreciation for your continued friendship that they value.
Yes, there is a correct way to use your chopsticks!
For example, some things that you shouldn’t do:
There are minorities in China
This does not mean you ask whether everyone you meet is Han
Yes, you've discovered the minorities of China. But keep in mind they barely represent 8% of China's considerable population. Most of everyone you meet will be Han. Minorities tend to stick to their native provinces and lands.
Remember to be kind and understand that even within China's very expansive culture, there are several sub-cultures across the country depending on your province down to your village and immediate family.
Don't get personal!
China is considered a high context society, and in affect, your interactions with a new friend or acquaintance are renegaded by invisible laws.
A sure way to make a person uncomfortable in China would be by getting to personal too quickly. Personal problems and unloading on someone is considered something you reserve for those close to you. Because it is a burden of sorts. Your problems will trouble them and you share them in the first place to half the load. So be considerate of what you say.
Your compliments may not be accepted
For humbleness sake.
Accepting a compliment straight away is considered vain and conceited and you will therefore often hear a "who me?" or "where?" in response. Don't be disheartened! This is simply a nicety and is considered standard when interacting with another person
Keep your face!
Understanding he concept of “face” or Guanxi – both maintaining it and losing it – can go a long way towards helping you better understand different social environments in China. This is very important and should be considered at all times. You can lose face (or cause someone else to lose face) by losing your temper, confronting someone, putting someone on the spot, or by failing to properly respect someone.
Last Names Come FirstAlways
When you are introduced to someone, it is likely that you will first hear their last name, followed by their first name. So, for example, in Chinese I would be Kennedy Shannon. Keep this in mind because Chinese tend to remain more formal than Westerners, especially in terms of address. It is polite to call someone by their last name and Mr., Miss., or Mrs. Sometimes, in lieu of the the aforementioned titles, job titles are used such as Manager Wang, CEO Zhang, or Teacher Li. It is also common for women to keep their maiden names.
Shaking hands is often seen as a customary way of meeting new acquaintances. It is also seen as polite (if not necessary) to stand whenever someone new walks into the room until you have been introduced and invited to sit once more (unless this person is very obviously your junior at a business meeting).
Bonus Cultural Tips
CHINA LIVING EXPENSES