Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

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Socialising 79

Elderly retirees playing cards under the shade of trees in the park.

In some cases, people come to their homes to consult with
them and seek advice rather than require them to go to the
workplace on a regular basis.
Most Chinese people look forward to retirement. Chinese
are very active retirees, it is a newly won badge of aging
honour and commands further respect. It is a time to pursue
hobbies, spend time with grandchildren and play a stronger
role in community.


Ancestor worship is an important part of Chinese heritage,
in more traditional households, you can still occasionally
see ancestor shrines honouring the dead. The Chinese view
toward death relates to whether it is in synch with the cycles
of life. If early and unexpected, it is an immense loss to the
family, especially in a time where the law allows only one
child and the social welfare of the family depends upon the
success and well-being of its breadwinners.
It is more easily accepted with old age. Death at the
end of a long life, with multiple generations of a happy,
thriving family to carry the name forward, is viewed as
having lived a fulfilling life within Chinese society. The dead
can be sure that their graves will be tended lovingly each
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