Showing respect in China is of vital importance in social interaction. There are two different ways to say “you”. Therefore, when you are speaking to a stranger, elder or high authority, you are supposed to use the formal one. It doesn’t matter that much if just between friends.

In Chinese culture, the oldest person in a family or an organization has the most respect, honor and dignity.So when the elder is talking, you should never interrupt or question him/her. Chinese people not only respect the elder, but also admire them. It is commonly said that Old men, who walk more roads, eat more rice, read more books, have more experiences, enjoy more happiness, and endure more sufferings are experienced and knowledgeable, with rich life experience. So in China, you are expected to offer your seat to the elder on a bus or subway.

When giving a gift to a Chinese friend, do not expect him/her to open it right in front of you. In western culture, it is common to open the present immediately and show surprise and tell the person how much you like it; however, in China, people will say thank you and put the present aside and keep talking to you. Do not feel offended by that. Because Chinese people think it is impolite to open the gift immediately rather than talk to their friends.

Leave your chopsticks vertically in China is definitely a “NO”. It is very inappropriate and disrespectful to put your chopsticks vertically on the rice. It symbolizes death and funeral. It is very unlucky. To show respect, you should really watch your table manners in China.


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