Chinese Table Manners

In China you will encounter many political or business associated occasions at which you have the chance to dine and drink together with acquaintances. Most people believe the successfulness of negotiations depends on the atmosphere around the table. That is why there are many specific communication methods. Generally, if you propose a toast, you position yourself lower than the other. If you propose a toast, you also show respect towards the other guests. Normally, the one who proposes a toast finishes his or her glass. It is not accepted if the one who is invited drinks nothing. You don’t have to finish your glass, but at least pretend as if you dink something. If you meet each other for the first time, it is polite to say: ‘I’ll finish my glass, you decide for yourself’. However, often the one who is invited finishes his or her drink as a sign of respect and to make sure the other does not ‘lose face’.

China’s drinking culture has an incredible long history. These courtesies, which strongly depend on different classes, are well known throughout China. Not everybody is happy with these courtesies. However, it is difficult to escape from them.

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