Chinese Culture

Etiquette

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Basic Etiquette
  • Give and receive everything with two hands.
  • Do not be late to events.
  • If you are invited to a Chinese home, bring a small gift (e.g. tea, sweets, fruit).
  • Tipping is considered derogatory as it is something a superior does to an inferior.
  • The correct decorum during interactions in China always entails showing deference to those who are older. It is expected  that one bows their head slightly and speaks softly when conversing with someone elderly. The advice or opinion of the elderly should never be contested. Talking back to or refuting them is considered extremely rude.
  • Etiquette at dining tables shows deference to the social hierarchy of age.

Gifts
  • Pass a gift to the recipient with both hands.
  • A Chinese person may decline receiving a gift two or three times out of politeness before accepting.
  • Gifts are not opened immediately or in the presence of the gift-giver.
  • Careful attention is paid to the wrapping of a gift, as the first impression it gives is very important. The more elaborate the wrapping, the better. Gifts wrapped in red and gold paper denote luck, whereas white, blue or black wrapping have sour connotations.
  • Do not give expensive gifts that are impossible to reciprocate or match. Such gifts will cause the Chinese recipient to lose face, resulting in a possible rejection of the gift.
  • Sweets, fruits, flowers (excluding white ones) or spirits make for good gifts.
  • Do not give gifts that add up to 4 in number. The pronunciation of the word ‘four’ sounds similar to the Chinese word for ‘death’.
  • Taboo items for gifts: sharp objects (e.g. knives, scissors), clocks, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, green hats, mirrors, and yellow or white flowers. See ‘Considerations’ for more taboo items that are inappropriate as gifts.

Eating
  • Food is often placed at the centre of the table, and there are usually multiple dishes to be eaten with rice.
  • Place the foods that mix with rice in your rice bowl, and hold the bowl close to your mouth as you feed yourself.
  • Try and taste everything served as this is considered polite when eating as a guest in someone’s home.
  • Eating a lot of rice without complementary component foods indicates that you do not like the meal.
  • Do not eat the last of anything left on a serving tray.
  • If you want a second serving, refuse the host’s offer once before accepting it.
  • Leave a small amount of food on your plate when you have finished eating. An empty plate indicates that the host did not provide enough food and that you need your plate to be filled again.
  • Place any bones or seeds on the table beside your plate or in a provided dish. Do not put them back in your rice bowl.
  • Do not leave chopsticks in the rice bowl after using them. Place them on the table.
China
  • Population
    1,373,541,278
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Mandarin (official)
    Cantonese
    Shanghainese
    Plus other dialects
  • Religions
    No Religion (52.5%)
    Folk Religion (21.9%)
    Buddhism (18.2%)
    Christianity (5.1%)
    Islam (1.8%)
    [2010 est.]
    Note: China is officially atheist.
  • Ethnicities
    Han Chinese (91.6%)
    Zhuang (1.3%)
    Other (7.1%)
    [2010 est.]
    Note: The Chinese Government officially recognises 56 ethnic groups including Hui, Manchu, Uighur, Miao, Yi, Tujia, Tibetan, Mongol, Dong, Buyei, Yao, Bai, Korean, Hani, Li, Kazakh, Dai and other nationalities.
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 80
    Individualism 20
    Masculinity 66
    Uncertainty Avoidance 30
    Long Term Orientation 87
    Indulgence 24
    What's this?
  • Australians with Chinese Ancestry
    1,213,903 [2016 census]
Chinese in Australia
  • Population
    509,555
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in China, excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • Average Age
    35
  • Gender
    Male (44.4%)
    Female (55.6%)
  • Religion
    No Religion (63.2%)
    Buddhism (16.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (3.4%)
    Other (11.4%)
  • Ancestry
    Chinese (94.1%)
    English (1.8%)
    Russian (1.4%)
  • Languages
    Mandarin (65.3%)
    Cantonese (22.5%)
    Samoan (2.5%)
    Chinese (6.0%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (49.41%)
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (48.9%)
    Victoria (29.4%)
    Queensland (8.5%)
    Western Australia (5.2%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (38.2%)
    2001-2006 (23.7%)
    2007-2011 (33.7%)
Where do we get our statistics?
Country CN Flag