5 Cultural Mistakes You Should Not Make in China

China’s colorful culture and diverse landscapes make it a country that tops many bucket lists. Chinese people are extremely amiable and hospitable, but social customs in China are not the same as in the west. It is always advisable to follow local rules and social customs so that no one gets offended. To have a safe and memorable trip to China, here are 5 things that you should not do while in China.




  • Don’t Embarrass Someone Publicly

In Chinese culture, reputation is very important. It represents a person’s feelings of prestige. It is deeply rooted in Chinese society and mindset. You’ll make a Chinese embarrassed if you criticize him or her in front of other people. Don’t humiliate or embarrass a Chinese publicly. You can point out his or her mistake privately.


  • Don’t Visit a Chinese Person’s Home Empty-Handed

Gifts are routinely shared amongst Chinese people, and not simply on particular occasions. It is customary to bring a present to a dinner party hosted by a Chinese acquaintance. It might be a fruit basket, a box of chocolates, or a bottle of wine (or a soft drink). If they have a young child, a toy will be appreciated. They are widely accessible at supermarkets and grocery stores. Unlike westerners, Chinese folks will not usually open your present right away. They’ll set it away and open it once you’ve left. This does not imply that they dislike the present; it is simply a reflection of their culture.

However, here’s a brief list of things that must never be given as gifts in China.


  • Don’t Stab your Chopsticks Vertically on your Food

In China, chopsticks are the most often used dining utensils. When learning to use chopsticks, there is a rule to follow: do not leave your chopsticks vertically in your rice dish. When you stick your chopsticks vertically in your bowl, you’re like an incense burner with two incense sticks. That is how Chinese people give offerings to those who have died. When you’re done eating, simply place it alongside your dish.


  • Don’t Use Only One Hand to Receive or Give Things

When giving or receiving anything in China, it is customary to use both hands. When presenting a gift, use both hands to offer it to the recipient. The present is regarded as an extension of the individual, and it is customarily given with both hands as a symbol of respect. When receiving a present, accept it with both hands and thank the giver. Business cards are distributed in the same way.


  • Don’t Take the First “Yes or No” Seriously

In many cultures, “yes” means yes and “no” means no, however in Chinese, “yes” signifies no, and “no” occasionally means yes. Being direct and forthright in conversation is considered disrespectful and harsh in China. For example, if you go to a Chinese friend’s house and tell them that it’s extremely lovely, they’ll usually respond with “no, it’s not nice, it’s shabby.” But they are immensely proud of their home in their hearts.


Here are some of the MOST important DON’Ts that you need to remember, either as an international student or just as a foreigner going on a trip to China. If you don’t make these mistakes, you are sure to avoid any awkward and uncomfortable moments in China.



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