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China | What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in China? | Expat Exchange
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What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in China?

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We asked people in China if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!...

"I had very good handlers so I did not commit any big mistakes. But I saw others do so. One example came when we went out to dinner with a large group of friends and family. The man who invited us, American, wanted to split the bill at the end of the night. This is NEVER done in China. I told him this but he didn't listen. He insisted that we calculate the bill at the table and came up with what he thought everyone should put in. From that day on he was branded a cheapskate and shunned by almost everyone. The word spreads quickly in China and in a few days all of the extended families and friends turned a cold shoulder to him in every way. In China the one who invites, or even suggests, going to a restaurant pays the entire bill, the wives of girlfriends will scrutinize it for any possible errors. It should be paid with no fanfare once the women OK the amount," said a member in China, China.

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"When visiting China, it is important to respect their culture and traditions. Avoid public displays of affection, as physical expressions of love between couples are considered rude in Chinese culture. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the behavior that is considered polite; slurping while eating is considered a compliment, whereas blowing your nose in public or speaking too loudly is not appreciated. Furthermore, try to show respect to those of higher status, such as elders and people in positions of authority. Lastly, it is important to be aware of the Chinese taboos; avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics, religion, and death," remarked another expat who made the move to China.

Other Questions:

What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in China?

If you live in China, newcomers to China would love to hear your answer to this question.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Shanghai, China

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