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Essex –Jiangsu CPD programme. A few tips on hosting a Chinese teacher. Key Concepts in Understanding Chinese Culture. Guanxi – relationships between people Mian zi - Face. Losing face, saving face and giving face is very important and should be taken into consideration at all times.

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a few tips on hosting a chinese teacher

Essex –Jiangsu CPD programme

A few tips on hosting a Chinese teacher

key concepts in understanding chinese culture
Key Concepts in Understanding Chinese Culture
  • Guanxi – relationships between people
  • Mianzi - Face. Losing face, saving face and giving face is very important and should be taken into consideration at all times.
  • Li – the art of being polite and courteous. Proper etiquette preserves harmony and face.
  • Keqi – Ke means guest and qi means behaviour. It not only means considerate, polite and well mannered but also represents humbleness and modesty.
greetings and introductions
Greetings and Introductions
  • The Chinese prefer to be formally introduced to someone new.
  • Always stand up when being introduced and remain standing throughout the introduction.
  • The accepted form of greeting is a handshake, even among Chinese.
  • When meeting in public, they would offer their business card although this would not happen at home.
business card etiquette
Business Card Etiquette
  • If you do receive a business card from your guest, then take it with both hands. If you offer yours, then present it to them in two hands as well.
  • Do not immediately put the card away. This is considered rude.
  • Follow with ‘ni hao’ or ‘I am pleased to meet you.’
  • When seated, place cards on the table. This shows respect and is an excellent way to remember names.
titles and forms of address
Titles and Forms of Address
  • The Chinese state their last name first, followed by their given name. For example my Chinese name is Lin Li whereas in England it would be Mrs. Li Lin.
  • Do not call someone by just their first name or just their last name, unless they specifically ask you to.
  • Addressing someone by his or her courtesy or professional title conveys respect. In Chinese the name precedes the title.
  • Chinese women use their maiden names even after marriage. They may indicate their marital status by using Mrs. Ms. Etc.
  • Many Chinese adopt a Western first name like Lily. They may request that you use this name once a relationship has been established.
personal questions and compliments
Personal Questions and Compliments
  • Do not be surprised when asked personal re: age, marital status, children, income, job etc. This is done to seek common ground.
  • Compliments are not graciously accepted with a ‘thank you’, but rather with ‘not at all’ or ‘it was nothing.’ Accepting and giving direct praise is considered poor etiquette. Do not be gushy with thanks. This might not be the case with your guest as he or she will be aware of western etiquette.
social distance touching and gestures
Social distance, touching and gestures
  • The Chinese are happy with a lesser personal space than most westerners. If you step away you may find that the Chinese will simply step closer.
  • The Chinese do not like to be touched, particularly by strangers. They might feel a bit embarrassed if you hug them or kiss them on the cheek.
meals in china
Meals in China
  • The meal usually begins with a set of at least 4 cold dishes.
  • There follows a main course of hot meat and vegetable dishes.
  • Soup will then be served followed by staple food ranging from rice, noodles to dumplings.
  • Fresh fruit like melon etc. served as dessert
dining etiquette and protocol
Dining Etiquette and Protocol
  • You may find that they leave a little food on their plate which in China signals to the host that they are full.
  • A clean plate indicates that you are still hungry and it is the host’s responsibility to see that you are continually served food and drink.

Food issues

  • Chinese people are used to a daily diet which contains a great deal of fruit and vegetables. A few of them don’t like potatoes, but I am sure they will try everything you offer to them. They are more used to rice and noodles but not large portions. They are not particularly keen on fried food.
  • Most of them are good at cooking Chinese food if they are given a chance. They would be happy to go to the supermarket with you in order to purchase the necessary ingredients.
  • Breakfast: Porridge, heated milk, toast and fresh fruit


  • Most Chinese people don’t like cold water or iced water, they would prefer warm water or so-called hot water.
  • As regards a hot drink, some of them like coffee, whilst others prefer Chinese green tea. They may even bring some tea with them.

Internet access

They would very much appreciate the opportunity to use internet at home. This would enable them to keep in touch with family and friends in China.


International Phone calls

Some of them will purchase an international phone card, which means that if you let them use your home phone, no costs will go onto your phone bill.



They will feel embarrassed to ask you to wash their underwear, but would appreciate the offer of washing power, a place to wash and hang them for drying. Their other clothes can be included in your normal weekly washing.


Discussion topics

Your guests will be happy to discuss most topics with you once they get to know you, however, be sensitive how you raise such issues as politics and religion.