Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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Etiquette

The Chinese have an elaborate system of etiquette, as Chinese say, "Standing in a standing way and sitting in a sitting way." Standing: In standing, stand at attention with or without the heeds touching each other and the hands down at the sides. In talking to a man in a position superior to yours, do not keep your eyes fixed on his, but let them rest at his left breast, only occasionally raising them to his face. Sitting: The left hand is the place of honor. It is given to the guest, and the host takes the right; but the greatest caution is necessary, in sitting down, not to do so before your guest; and if either should get up,or even rise slightly, the other must follow suit at once. Another rule is never to sit while any one else who is your equal is standing. Answering questions: Like the French, the Chinese do not consider it always polite to simply answer "yes" or "no", but often turn the interrogative form of a question into the affirmative, using the same words, as far as possible, in the reply that have been used in the question. Do not think that Chinese are boorish when answer in this manner, but they only act in accordance with their code of politeness. Asking age, etc: It is not considered rude for a Chinese to make most particular inquires as to a stranger's personal affairs. In fact the making of such questions often evinces great politeness and concerns, such as "How old are you?" "Are you married?" "Where are you going?" "What are you going to do?" "Did you have your meal?" Dunning: It is not considered polite to ask a man for a debt due by him to you. The polite way is to request repayment by asking your debtor for a loan of money for your own use. Visiting: After a guest sits down, the host will give a him a cup of tea or water and the guest will arise to receive the cup with his both hands. Beckoning: In beckoning, a Chinese use his hand with palm outwards, the fingers hanging down and the whole hand is used to beckon towards one with a sweeping motion, in a most energetic manner. Names: It is against Chinese etiquette to name a child after his father or grandfather, in fact the name of any member of a former generation must not be used by a descendant.

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