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DOHC this looks like an "Off Topic" but it's a good one. Good luck with your project...

Here are a few guidelines for avoiding the ire of Chinese folks. I hope some others can add to it. Your professor is right; just a little sensitivity about these kind of things can go a long way in making this a more friendly world to live in.


1. Chinese are very conscious of losing face. So always try to make the other person look good in front of others.

2. Don't show up without a business card.
3. Do treat business cards received from another with respect. Don't bend or write on them.
4. Generally don't call people by their first name. Use titles when possible, e.g. Laoshi (Teacher) , or a family name followed by title, e.g. Li Tai Tai (Mrs. Li) or Li Gong (Engineer Li). (An exception is when someone asks you to call them by an English name they have made up.)

5. Recognize the seniority and rank of older people in a group. Don't defer to younger people at the expense of elders.
6. When in a restaurant with a group, don't take the seat that is furthest from the entrance door, and that faces that door. Leave that to the highest ranking (or eldest) person.
7. Don't pat people on the back or children on the head. In fact avoid body contact outside of a handshake (if a handshake is offered).
8. Don't point with your index finger. If you need to point, point with your hand.
9. Don't use the index finger to beckon someone. Instead with palm down, use a waving motion of the extended fingers.
10. Never beckon by snapping fingers.
11. Don't whistle. It's considered rude.
12. Don't blow your nose during a meal. And anytime avoid blowing your nose with a handkerchief and then returning it to your pocket. Use tissues and throw them away.

13. As CCT says, don't open a gift when you receive it, but when you are giving it, use both hands. If you use one hand to present something make sure it’s the right hand.

14. Don't show up empty handed when invited somewhere. But gifts of appreciation needn't be extravagant.
15. It's OK to give one gift to a group, but don't give to one person and neglect another.
16. Wrap that gift in a lucky color like red. Avoid white or black since they are reminders of death.
17. Avoid the number four or things in sets of four. It's a reminder of death.
18. Don't give someone a green hat or scarf. It means someone in that wearer's family is an adulterer. This may also be why I can't remember seeing a green car in China.
 
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