NEVER STICK YOUR CHOPSTICKS IN RICE
Sticking your chopsticks upright in rice is representative of burning joss sticks (incense) at an alter to mourn a dead relative. This is also true for Japan!
WHEN ASKED OUT TO DINNER...
In China, finishing all your food at the table is representative of telling your host they did not order enough! The invited guests do not pay for the meals. Chinese people love to be good hosts too, so don't argue when they insist on paying!
NO TIPPING CULTURE
There's no tipping culture in China. In fact, it's disallowed in some settings. The exception to this rule today is in the instance of paying for tour guides: tour guides and bus drivers might expect some tipping.
Chinese people lack the same sense of privacy as Westerners - topics such as age, income and marital status are not seen as intrusive or taboo, but rather as showing curiosity and friendliness. Don't feel offended if someone asks you how old you are!
Chinese people revere respect above everything else. Being sensitive to another persons' needs and a good host is extremely important in Chinese culture and they will try to read between the lines of all you say to make you feel comfortable.
The success of one's business or personal-life is downplayed in China. When offered a compliment, a Chinese person will often say "No, no, not at all. No really, I'm not that awesome, it was luck at best!". However, the Chinese person will appreciate the comment. In contrast, someone in a Western country may gladly accept the compliment: "Yes, that's right, I kick ass..."
In crowded areas in China, people are less likely to disrespect personal space. This by no means is an indication of disrespect towards you. Culturally, entering into someone's personal space is usually not considered rude when in queues, public transport, etc.
THERE WILL BE MANY PUSHY SALESMEN
Pushy people trying to sell you things on the street is normal, so when asking for directions make sure you're not mistaken for an eager salesman and avoided: hold your map out!
Side tip: Never follow a young Chinese girl asking you to join her and her friends for a tea ceremony, the tea ceremony scam is a favourite con aimed at tourists!
WATCH WHERE YOU STEP!
Chinese people believe what needs to come out, needs to come out, and impurities should be removed to keep the lungs clear - so they feel no shame in hacking one out on the streets. You might find it gross, but to them there's nothing wrong! We suggest averting your eyes the moment you hear a loud clearing of throat happening... and watch where you step!
STRENGTHEN THAT CORE
Urban cities like Shanghai/ Beijing will have the modern bowls we're used to - but in many toilets, Chinese are used to and even prefer squatting when they release their bowels.
Have we covered it all? What other cultural differences do you think are most important? Leave your comments in the boxes below.