Chinese Culture

Communication

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Verbal

  • Indirect Communication: As an extension of the need to maintain harmonious relations, the Chinese rely heavily on indirect communication. They rely less on words and are more attentive to posture, expression and tone of voice to draw meaning. Speech is ambiguous, often understating their point. The purpose of this is to maintain harmony throughout the conversation and prevent a loss of face on either end of the exchange. The best way of navigating this rhetoric to find the underlying meaning is to check for clarification several times.
  • Refusals: A Chinese person’s preoccupation with saving face and politeness means they will seldom give a direct ‘no’ or negative response, even when they do not agree with you. Therefore, focus on hints of hesitation. Listen closely to what they say, but also pay careful attention to what they don’t say and double check your understanding.
  • Laughter: When relaying bad news, a Chinese person may smile and laugh to diffuse the uncomfortable situation.
  • Voice: In China, men generally speak louder than women. When a woman talks loudly, she is considered to have bad manners.


Non-Verbal

  • Silence: Silence is an important and purposeful tool used in Asian communication. Pausing before giving a response indicates that someone has applied appropriate thought and consideration to the question. This signifies politeness and respect.
  • Physical Contact: The Chinese do not touch people that are strangers to them unless it is unavoidable (i.e. in a crowd). Avoid hugging, back-slapping or putting your arm around someone's shoulder unless you know them well.
  • Pointing: The Chinese point with their whole open hand instead of their index finger.
  • Beckoning: Beckoning is done by facing the palm of one’s hand to the ground and waving one’s fingers towards oneself.
  • Feet: Displaying the soles of one’s feet is considered rude.
  • Whistling: Whistling is considered rude.
  • Waving: ‘No’ may be indicated by waving the hand in front of one’s face.
  • Body Language: Shrugging shoulders and winking are both gestures that are not always understood by Chinese people.
China
  • Population
    1,401,586,609
    19.13% of World Population
  • Languages
    Mandarin (official)
    Cantonese
    Shanghainese
    Plus other dialects
  • Religions
    No Religion (52.5%)
    Folk Religion (21.9%)
    Buddhism (18.2%)
    Christianity (5.1%)
    Islam (1.8%)
  • Ethnicities
    Han Chinese (91.6%)
    Zhuang (1.3%)
    Other (7.1%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (49.41%)
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 80
    Individualism 20
    Masculinity 66
    Uncertainty Avoidance 30
    Long Term Orientation 87
    Indulgence 24
    What's this?
  • Australians with Chinese Ancestry
    866,208
Chinese in Australia
  • Population
    509,555
    [2016 census]
    Figure excluding SARs and Taiwan
  • Average Age
    35
  • Gender
    Male (44.4%)
    Female (55.6%)
  • Religion
    No Religion (63.2%)
    Buddhism (16.2%)
    Catholic Christianity (3.4%)
    Other (11.4%)
  • Ancestry
    Chinese (94.1%)
    English (1.8%)
    Russian (1.4%)
  • Languages
    Mandarin (65.3%)
    Cantonese (22.5%)
    Samoan (2.5%)
    Chinese (6.0%)
  • English Proficiency
    Well (49.41%)
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (48.9%)
    Victoria (29.4%)
    Queensland (8.5%)
    Western Australia (5.2%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (38.2%)
    2001-2006 (23.7%)
    2007-2011 (33.7%)
Where do we get our statistics?
Country CN Flag