Chinese Guest-Host Relations

In China, there is a greater emphasis on pleasing the guest than respecting the ways of the host. For example, in the West it would be rude for a guest to not ask permission to smoke inside a home, whereas in China it would be rude for the host to not allow the guest to smoke.

Chinese hospitality

A good host keeps his or her guest occupied. Visitors are taken out to see local sights and eat at local restaurants.

Refusing is only a politeness

Refusing something, whether refusing a refill or being accompanied to the train station, is merely a politeness. It shows that the guest does not want to be greedy or bother the host. Guests are expected to refuse at least once or twice an offer from the host.


In China, the host will often offer to help carry bags. It is not uncommon for the host to hold one handle of a bag and the guest another handle. This represents teamwork and a natural desire to cooperate.

Personal Space

In China, people stand closer to each other than the do in the Western world. Thus, Chinese hosts stand closer to their guests than Westerners typically do. It should be noted that the Chinese do not hug or embrace as much as Westerners do.

Seeing the Guest Off

A host will see the guest off, not just to the door, but often even to the bus or train station. The host will then wait for the guest’s ride to arrive. This is considered not an inconvenience, but a duty of the host.

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