You should know that it is extremely rude to stick your chopsticks straight down into your rice. That act is actually associated with funerals because that is how you place incense when you are praying for the dead. Playing drums with your chopsticks is also a no no. It's best to look around you, see what the other local diners are doing and follow their lead.
If offered a gift in China, the more polite thing to do is to refuse it. If they offer it again than it is okay to accept. If you are the one offering a gift, avoid giving a gift that is white because white symbolizes death.
Yes, they have a dog-eating festival every year, but eating dog is becoming more and more unpopular. According to CNN, there has been talk of making eating cats and dogs illegal, and there have been bans and fines put in place in certain areas for eating their meat. Many have been protesting the practice for years and the majority of Chinese people would rather have cats and dogs as pets than as their food.
The rumor is that breathing the air in Beijing is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. The truth is that breathing in the air is really only equivalent to being exposed to secondhand smoke. Still not great, but much better.
The Chinese do not like to be touched by strangers. Watch your body language and don't touch, hug, lock arms or make any body contact with anyone you don't know. They also think that snapping and whistling is a very rude thing to do. Don't be a jerk!
You can't speak "Chinese" because Chinese people don't just speak one language. There are many different dialects that they speak, like Mandarin and Cantonese. Make sure you know what dialect they speak in the region that you are traveling to so you don't offend anyone.
While you may feel super tall in some areas, you won't be the tallest person in China. In China's northern region the average height for men is 5'10'' and 5'6'' for women. So don't you worry. You won't be towering over people when you visit.
Do you think that you know how to poop in public? Think again. In China, most of their public toilets are on the floor, so I hope you are flexible. Also, they don't always provide toilet paper in public areas so you should carry your own toilet paper just in case. Good luck!
Don't just go to Beijing and Shanghai. There is much more in China to explore. Visit cities like Suzhou, the "Venice of China", and Hangzhou. Travel to Eastern China if you are searching for something off the beaten path and less touristy. China has some of the most beautiful places in the world, like Karakul Lake so don't just get stuck in the bigger cities.
What we eat in the United States is not real Chinese food. When you go, don't expect to see sweet and sour pork and eggs rolls every where you turn. You'll find more simple foods there like cooked vegetables and meat dishes. Don't worry, you will still love the cuisine. You may even love it more than Panda Express.
If someone compliments you, do not say thank you and just accept it. I know it's tempting because everyone loves a good compliment, but they will see it as rude and vain. Refusing a compliment is seen as humble and polite.
Shake hands when you meet or greet someone. You may notice that the Chinese may also bow or nod and that is fine too. When you are introduced by a Chinese group, don't be surprised if they applaud and make sure you applaud back! Claps for everyone!
Never let someone pay the bill without fighting for it. And I mean fight! Don't be surprised if you go out to eat and the table next to you is wrestling over the bill. This may go on for a while and it won't stop until someone wins. Don't be scared, it's just how they do it!