Moving or traveling to a foreign country, especially one with a culture very different to your own, can be a nerve-wracking as well as exciting experience, especially with a country like China which has a long history of tradition. There’s so much that could go wrong and so many unintentional faux pas to make. Wouldn’t it be handy if someone put together a helpful list of the top ten things someone coming to China should know…? Read on to find out what conversation topics are as awkward as talking about hemorrhoids and why you should never give someone a green hat.

A writer over at China Hush put together this helpful infographic for foreigners to help them blend in with the locals, whether you’re moving to China for the long-term or just stopping by for a trip. It’ll set you on your way to becoming a laowai, the word for a local foreigner who’s experienced with Chinese culture, in no time. Some of the tips lean towards common sense, but many of them offer information on Chinese cultural practices and taboos that would probably never cross your mind.

Check out the full infographic below, or if that’s too much reading for you here’s a mini summary.

  • This first one should be a general rule for any place where the native language is not English – don’t expect to get by in English
  • Watch out for fake taxis
  • Many of the public toilets you come across will be squat toilets, and they may not provide toilet paper
  • Don’t talk about politics, Tibet, Taiwan, human rights, or internet censorship – basically all the hot topics that China receives international criticism for
  • Get ready to barter
  • Be prepared to carry around plenty of cash as ATMs may not work and some places don’t accept cards
  • Don’t refer to elderly people by their name, instead use something like ‘YeYe‘, which means grandfather
  • Never ever stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice
  • Inform yourself on numerology and other superstitions
  • Be very careful with your choice of gifts for people

▼ Click on the graphic for an enlarged version.


Source: China Hush
Top Image: Wikimedia Commons 
Infographic credit: My New Chinese Wife