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Key Concepts in Chinese Etiquette

Guanxi - it literally means "relationship between people", and is the glue that binds people together within a society, a lot of business and personal dealings rely on the "guanxi" between people.

Mianzhi- The literal meaning is "face". One must always consider whether one's actions words would cause another person to "lose face". And in any situation, it is polite and considerate to "give face" to the other person, and when an embarassing or difficult situation arises, actions to "save face" should be taken into consideration as well.

Li - The concept of being polite and courteous. Closely related to the idea of "face", being polite and courteous at all times helps maintain the balance and "gives face" to others.

Keqi - In Chinese, "ke" means guest, "qi" can mean behavior. Put together, it means behaving the proper way a guest should behave. This includes being considerate, polite, well mannered, acting humble and being modest.



Greetings and Introductions

-Chinese people prefer to be formally introduced to someone new, preferably through a go-between if possible, especially when making first contact.

-Chinese tend not to show excessive emotions, especially when the relationship is still fairly new, so any signs of what seems to be "unfriendliness" should not be misunderstood, but given time the relationship should "warm up" considerably.

-Remember to stand up when being introduced and remain standing throughout introductions, even while others are being introduced.

-Handshakes are acceptable among Chinese people during introductions, though some may simply nod or bow slightly.

-Presentation of business cards are very common, make sure you accept the business card with both hands, and do not put it immediately into a pocket or bag, as it may be considered rude to do so.

-When presenting your own business card, also do so with both hands, and make sure the writing faces the person to who you are presenting it to.

-Chinese people state their last names first, followed by their given name. For example, Chen Mei-ling would be known as Mei-ling Chen in the Western style.

-It is more courteous to first address someone by his or her title or professional title to show respect (unless otherwise or specifically asked).

-Do not address anyone by their given names only, unless specifically asked to do so -the exception being when they present you with their English name.





















  • Data update: 2023-05-26
  • Publish Date: 2011-11-17
  • Source: Civil Affairs Bureau
  • Hit Count: 2775
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