Despite rapid modernization, China remains a traditional society governed by strong family values. Although the cities and towns give the outward impression of Western modernity, their inhabitants retain a deep-seated and family-oriented conservatism. Confucian values promote respect for elders and those in position of authority, and reinforce notion of conformity. Religious observance is also an important part of people's lives, but is largely separate from mainstream social behavior. The Chinese are often amazed at their hospitality. If invited to someone's home, a gift of chocolates, French wine, or a carton of cigarettes will be greatly appreciated.
While shaking hands is not customary in china, Chinese men may shake your hand or expect their hand to be shaken by foreign visitors. Although the Chinese are not particularly tactile in their greetings, bodily contact is quite common between friends, even of the same sex. It is quite common to see young men walking arm in arm, or with their arm around another's shoulder. The usual Chinese greeting is ni hao (how are you?) or nimen hao in its plural form, to which you reply ni hao or nimen hao the polite form is nin/ninmen hao. Chinese people can be very direct, and will not blanch at asking you how much you earn, how old you are, or whether you are married. Such questions are seen as nothing more than taking a friendly interest in a new acquaintance. When proffering business cards, the Chinese do so on the beach, nudity and women sunbathing topless are rarely seen as Chinese beach culture is quite modest.
Place of Worship
Although there are no dress codes for Buddhist, Daoist, or Confucian temples, visitors to mosques should dress respectfully-avoid wearing shorts or short shirts and cover their upper arms. Buddhist Daoist, and Confucian temples are relaxed about visitors wandering about, but do be considerate toward worships. Also, check whether you can take photographs within temple halls, as this is often not permitted. Taking photographs in courtyards, however, is usually not a problem. Some Buddhist and Daoist temples are active, and you should show respect towards the resident monks.
Do's and Don'ts
If invited out for diner, expect to see the diners competing to pay the entire bill, rather than dividing it up between them. It is a good idea to join in the scramble for the bill, or at least make an attempt-your gesture will be appreciated, though almost certainly declined. The Chinese avoid talking about politics, and it is best to follow suit.