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Social Etiquettes in Chinese Culture


Chinese social etiquettes have played an integral part in the Chinese culture throughout the history of China. Social etiquettes help in maintaining social harmony of the society. The basis of social etiquette is to prevent any kind of conflict and embarrassment in social organizations. The close familiarity of the Chinese social etiquette ensures a smooth social interaction in the society.

Confucianism, mianzi, gaunxi and lijie, characterize the social etiquette in Chinese culture. The teaching of Confucianism emphasizes on a society based on harmony,

hierarchy, collectivism and reciprocation. The Chinese social etiquette is based on the thought of Confucius that it is necessary to maintain harmonious relationships among the members of society. The social hierarchy includes the relationship between the ruler-subject, parent-child, husband-wife, elder-younger brother and the relationship between friends. These relationships help maintain social stability in the society. The Chinese social etiquettes also emphasize on groups. They state that the stability of a society depends on the co-operation of a group. The concept of reciprocity refers to the network of relationship and is applied in the Chinese business culture.

The concept of "Mianzi" or face is also an important part of the social etiquette in Chinese culture. The Chinese society treats a person based on his or her social status and position. It is important to understand the concept in order to have a smooth interaction with the Chinese society as a whole. The 'face' in Chinese social etiquette is taken as a manner of behavior that intends to avoid shame and conflict. It is also use to promote flattery in social and business situations. It involves the idea of losing face, giving face and saving face. Losing face refers to the feeling of embarrassment or shame in oneself or another. The act of showing respect or honor to someone is termed as giving face in the Chinese social etiquette. Saving face refers to the manner of acting not in constant with the truth even in situations where the other knows the truth. The idea of face is an important social etiquette in the Chinese culture.

Social connection is also an important part of social etiquette in the Chinese culture. It is extremely important because it is related to all the forms of relationship in the Chinese culture. The relationship is termed as "Gaunxi". This kind of relationship is based on loyalty, trust, moral obligations and interpersonal relationships. It is considered as a means to develop a strong social network in the Chinese society. It is an important part of the Chinese culture and forms one of the basic social etiquettes. It also has an important role in the Chinese business norms.

The Chinese ways of expressing courtesy and interactions are formal in nature. The term "Lijie" refers to the quality of politeness in the Chinese. It covers the idea of the manner of greeting guests in their homes to the act of a person in business meeting. This social courtesy has a deep cultural meaning. It is important to present oneself in a polite manner and it is equally important to reciprocate in the same manner. The manner is one of the social etiquettes that are important in the Chinese society.



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