How the Chinese Communicate

Chinese society is ac collectivist society. People stress fitting in and belonging to their in group. Needs, goals, and beliefs of the in group take precedence over those of the individual.

Chinese society is a high context society. High context communication involves indirectness, implicitness, and non-verbal communication.

Chinese have separate rules for insiders and outsider.

Chinese feel no responsibility to outsiders, leading to social irresponsibility and lying, cheating, corruption, ingnoring behavior.

The nature of the relationship determines the type of communication.

Interactions with strangers are initiated by a 3rd party known to both people.

Goals of communication are to preserve harmony and maintain existing relationships. The Chinese self is defined by these relationships with others.

Argument and confrontation are avoided at all costs (disharmony), but are more likely with outsiders (no harmony to protect).

Social and ethical responsibilities define the self.

Chinese are sensitive to their position as above, equal to, or below others, vis-a-vis the 5 Confucian relationships.

Chinese refer to other people's views and opinions and do commit to their own.

Family is the center of Chinese society.

Relation sot, and importance of, family, plus the emphasis on the Confucian relationships, has led toa lack of civic morality or sense of obligation to society.

Chinese engage in honest and truthful conversations with insiders abut are reluctant to disclose personal information to outsiders.

Insiders enjoy privileges (关系)

Value standards applied to insiders do not extend to outsiders.

Relationship roles: lower – obedience, loyalty, respect, submission

Role determines behavior.

Chinese do not display overt joy, delight, etc. to avoid imposing on others. (Do not open gifts in front of the giver.)

Chinese are very cognizant of repaying favors. Affection and the closeness of a relationship is shown through helping.

Laughter/giggling is a sign of discomfort.

Ideas and opinions are expressed with restraint, hesitance, uncertainty so as not to question or challenge authority, thus the use of "I think" etc.

Chinese do not accept compliments – humility.

Face is important because the in group determines correct behavior. Giving face; saving face; not losing face.

Assertiveness is not valued as it threatens the other party.

Chinese avoid direct answers.

Personal questions are asked to show interest and concern, not to intrude.

Recommendations
Focus on how something is said.
Pay attention to what is not said.
Listen for implied meanings – requests, refusals
Do not expect definitive answers or opinions.
Be cognizant of modesty and humility.

Chinese hosts show their hospitality by rejecting a "no" response to their offer; American hosts grant their guests autonomy by accepting a "no" response to their offer.
Chinese: offer – decline – offer – decline –offer – accept