IIn Beijing and many other parts of China , people often smile and ask “Have you eaten yet?” when they meet friends, colleagues or people they know in the street. The greeting question is just a polite way of saying hello. If you admit that you haven't eaten recently, you may be obligating your friend to stop and have a meal with you.

When enjoying a Chinese banquet with your Chinese friends , never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice bowl. This is the sign used at funerals.

It is a tradition that the host will continue to fill your glass during meals. This is a way of showing their hospitality. If you have had sufficient, just leave your glass more than half-full, and it will not be refilled.

Never ever give a clock or a green hat as the gift. The word for clock in Mandarin sounds like the word for death, therefore clocks are regarded as unlucky and will do nothing for your friendship. Green hats are not a good gift as wearing a green hat indicates that there is a problem with his/her marriage.

The number four in Chinese numerology is regarded as very unlucky , as it sounds also like the word death. The number eight is regarded as very lucky. This word sounds similar to the expression for making a lot of money.

Chinese names place the family name first and the given or first name second. For example in the name Zhang Yi-heng, Zhang is the family name and Yi-heng is given name.

Handshakes are a Western greeting imported into China . Traditional Chinese may not be completely comfortable with it. More often than not, handshakes in China are soft and limp, but this should not be taken as a reflection of the person.

Colors in China may have different meanings. Red was traditionally associated with emperor or royal family and more recently the communist party. It is still now the symbol of wealth, success and happiness. Red is the typical color for a wedding. White and Black are typically associated with funerals, so they are to be avoided. Never wear green hats, or your marriage will be in question.

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