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Nine Things Not to Do in China

Bushra Jawaid
Bushra Jawaid Nov 26 6 min read
Nine Things Not to Do in China

The first and foremost responsibility of every tourist visiting any part of the world is to follow the law of the country. Disobeying law can not only put you in big troubles but can also generate a very negative perspective of your homeland. On second, you should obey the rules and regulations of the site you are visiting especially the safety rules.

Chinese people are friendly and welcoming, but there are certain social boundaries and cultural ethics to which tourists should not go against. In order to pay respect, and to take good perception of your native country you must follow the ways Chinese native live and mingle socially.

Here is a list of nine things not to do in China particularly to avoid any hassle or awkward situation.

1. Never Pronounce Wrong or Address People by their First Names Only

As we are not much familiar with Chinese names and pronunciations’ there is a great chance that you call the name wrong. The best way is to ask them twice how they pronounce their names to avoid mistakes. Chinese people sometimes count it rude or negative if someone calls their name wrong.

Secondly, avoid taking the first name first or the first name only. In China, the last name comes first. The close friends and relatives, in particular, use the first name first or only first name to show their level of connection.

The rest of the people take the second name first or add prefixes like Lâo (laow; for old) or Xiâo (shyaow; for young). For the safe side, you can add Mr. Mrs. Or Lady to pay respect. Chinese sometimes point it out to call them with the second name, some people actually feel odd when you call them with first name only. To avoid these small things while mingling with locals especially in rural or suburban areas, as the people there do not meet tourists often.

2. Avoid Political Discussions and Criticism on Government

Chinese are proud of their land, its century`s old strong culture, and the ruling government. Understand the fact that you are only the tourist in China and your criticism over policies, government, political decisions, and other sensitive topics is not your right. Yes, the people belonging to the land or living there as immigrant owes the right of criticism only.


The government doesn’t put any penalty or charges over such discussion but you can get into a fight easily. Moreover, due to your such silly mistakes, the police can alert the authorities to keep a watch over your activities.

3. Avoid Convincing People to Follow Religion or Social Things You Feel Right

When it comes to religion and social affairs every person has his own perspective of thinking. Remember you are not going to China to spread religion or to help the world make good social rules. Chinese are liberal in general but they love their cultural values and religious ideologies. Even if they are atheist they don’t consider it OK to convince people to follow their ideologies or vice versa.

Religious gatherings, in particular, are arranged in China to talk over religion otherwise it is not considered appropriate to get into someone`s believes, religion or ideologies.

Over such discussions, you will receive an immediate shut up call and the people will avoid talking with you further.

4. Don’t Consider Quoted Price as Final

Except in big mall and branded stores, never consider quoted price as final. Local vendors in China quote more and try their best to sell products at maximum prices. So do not forget to bargain over prices. When you are buying multiple products, or products in bulk consider bargaining as your right in China.

5. Visit Sops Inside the Streets

When buying souvenirs from local bazaar and streets, ask prices of the same product from multiple vendors. You can get the same product at low prices from shops located on the end side of the markets. Front line shops and vendors are expensive and charge extra but the shops located inside the streets are usually 30% less costly.

6. Don’t Get into Unregistered or Illegal Taxis

In China when locals travel from one place to another they sometimes take passengers to make extra money. This can be dangerous and may get into trouble because of illegal taxi drivers. Sometimes when illegal authorities are transporting something prohibited, to play safe they take passengers. When they are caught by police they claim that illegal belongings are yours. 

So when someone stops the car and start shouting taxi, do not fall for the trap even if they are charging less. Sit in the taxi with meter and registration.

7. Say No to National Holidays and Tour Plans

Tour plan on national holidays is a bogus idea, some websites might make it sound very attractive but in actual you will only throw your money in a bin. People on websites mention that you can witness the parade, colorful celebration, this and that but in actual you will only witness overcrowded places.

The charges are high on national holidays and almost all popular places are jam-packed with local travelers. Getting transportation to visiting a place will take too much time because of long queues. Moreover, due to a big crowd, you will not be able to see things properly.

8. Carry Toilet Paper Otherwise…

Remember to carry toilet paper when going to public toilets, restaurants or malls otherwise you know what you can go through. Toilets running out of toilet papers are common in China and most people carry their own roll when going out.

9. Don’t Rely on Weather Apps

Weather apps in China or your local weather forecast app won`t help you much. The information by these apps is often wrong as the weather is unpredictable. Ask the hotel management or your guide for a weather report or watch any local news with English subtitles.

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