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Q: Etiquette, when passing people on the sidewalk, in China ?

When I walk l often have to weave around people coming at me, I'll side step for women and kids, but I notice many men don't move at all, so I either move and they still bump me or I move farther, I'm getting tire of this. If I don't move at all and  bump into them hard, is that rude? Cause I'm tired of them bumping me if I do move.

5 years 2 days ago in  General  - China

 
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If you are walking down the sidewalk it is very important to follow 2 very important rules.

 

1) Walk slowly.  You wouldn't want to lose face by having people think you have someplace to get to.  Because we all know that only people in cars have places to get to, walking is for peasants.  So you wouldn't want to be counted among them.

 

2) Weave.  When walking slowly down the sidewalk, it is very important to weave while you walk.  Weaving is the social responsibility for everyone interested in a harmonious society.  By weaving you force the people behind you to slow down and help them not to lose the face we discussed in rule number one.  Weaving takes years to master properly, this is why one diminutive elderly woman can hold an entire 8' wide sidewalk worth of foot traffic at bay.  Remember, weaving is done for your protection so do not seek to counteract it or you will cause the social fabric to frey and unravel.  And no one wants that.

 

If you must pass, no one of social standing will give way to you.  If they gave way to you that would mean that they noticed you.  If you notice others, it is a sign that they are on the same social level as you.  And since no one is more important than "them", they will see no one and the plebs understand this and negotiate around their betters so that they will not disturb their slow harmonious weaving.

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5 years 2 days ago
 
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I go through phases.  At the moment I'm in my "if you're not moving I'm not, but I know we're going to walk into each other and I'm prepared to do it with force" phase.   

 

The Chinese have no spacial awareness, which reflects in their driving and parking skills as well.

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5 years 2 days ago
 
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Brilliant post, Xpat John, truly enjoyed it.

I am like Xunliang, but still on my first phase, maybe having too much fun with it.  I do weave, but in general try hard to do my walking on my right hand side of the sidewalk.  And since I am told that I am a racist, I must admit I do behave different between male and females zeroing in on me.  For the males, a small shoulder shove at impact, or an elbow to the side, helps to avoid future occurrences.  Must must be done with finesse, as part of the impact.  And with females, is like a dual maneuver, since it must look like you tried hard to avoid them, yet impact must be forceful enough to cause them to loose some equilibrium, so you have the excuse to reach out and "grab" to help her not to fall down.  

Well, seriously now, my biggest problem is when it rains, with all those umbrellas trying hard to hit my face.  And I do use mine to deflect the worse ones that come too close.  It must be a curse to be 6 ft tall when everyone around you is at least 6 inches shorter, and carrying umbrellas, and thinking they all have the right of way.

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5 years 2 days ago
 
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Shifu

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I'm pretty sure that it's illegal here to walk in a straight line, or to purposefully move out of the way to avoid another person. Careening into people randomly while walking on the diagonal is the way to go.

 

 

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5 years 2 days ago
 
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i don't like when people walk slowly, especially when they weave and cover the whole track. I never liked it may be because i always set time and goal about what i am going to do and how long it may take. But still I weave and watch them like a radar and figure out loopholes from which side to overtake them...It works for me and I enjoy crowded place so that I can measure myself on how fast I can overcome them.

 

Sometimes I ask myself why not to move slow if everyone is doing so. I try to do it but suddenly I get back to my pace. May be it is because of my habit that I rarely take buses or taxis if the distance is within 1 hour, except in emergencies. sad I am able to keep my weight constant for last 15 years...........

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5 years 2 days ago
 
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I like to walk and often fast. if I'm walking in Toronto,( I doubt a peasant could walk at my fast pace ). I can weave in and out and not touch, if people are coming at me, usually we both move. I see the men not moving as a macho thing. If they don't move and bump into to me.

  In China if I move here they still bump into me. I see it as disrespecting me.

IF I HIT THEM DOES THIS MEAN I DO NOT SEE THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE LOWER THAN ME ?
Is it OK to bump them so I gain Face and they lose it?? Is this how it works?

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5 years 2 days ago
 
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Governor

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Yeh I had enough of this as well...Riding my bike on campus LOL...Im not waiting on anyone anymore...they are like sheep...seriously, walking and looking at their stupid phone at the same time

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5 years 2 days ago
 
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If I see people walking straight(ish) toward me I tell them in a friendly way, 'I did a solid shit today'. Can't wait for the day someone actually understands what the strange, smiling foreigner actually spoke at them as they block my way.

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5 years 2 days ago