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SMU Libraries

Understanding China: Home

This guide provides useful information and links to resources on China.

At A Glance

HUAN YING!

The following information have been carefully selected for your reference. Some resources may have bias perspectives. Please approach the SMU Libraries (library@smu.edu.sg ) should you have any doubts or need clarifications.

This video gives a brief introduction and the top things to do while you are in China.

  • Flag of China
    Find out more about the history of the China flag.

Learn more about China provinces and capitals through this educational video.

 

 

First World Traveller takes you around Shanghai and shows you some of the great places to see in this wonderful city in Shanghai, China.

Host Jin Ye tours us around the best places to eat, drink, shop, and play in Beijing. Beijing is a big city and it is often said that if you've never been to this city then you've never really been to China.

Need To Know

This section helps prepare an individual before visiting China, such as learning the cultural etiquette, basic conversational phrases, and even some useful local contact numbers.

Cultural Dos and Don’ts

China’s culture has developed differently from other countries’ for thousands of years. As a result, the culture is probably quite different from your own. Observe the following etiquette for a great experience:

  • Address seniority by the family name followed by an honorific title (family relationship or e.g. 'teacher': laoshi /laow-shrr/), or Mr. (xiansheng /sshyen-shnng/) or Ms. (nvshi /nyoo-shrr/).
  • Address the eldest or most senior person first. This is done as a sign of respect to those in a more senior position.
  • Use ‘Nin hao’ (/neen-haow/ ‘you good’) )when addressing older people. This a more polite and formal way of saying ‘ni hao’ (/nee haow/).
  • Take off your shoes when entering someone’s home. This is extremely important and should be remembered whenever entering a person’s home.
  • Bring a small gift with you. When meeting someone for the first time in a planned setting, make sure to bring a small gift with you as a token of friendship.
  • Don’t bow. Bowing is not a custom in China is not done when greeting people.
  • Don’t offer a firm handshake. Handshakes in China tend to be softer, and a firm handshake could be misconstrued as a sign of aggression.
  • Don’t interrupt or try to talk over senior people. Social ranking is taken seriously in China, and is quite often tied to the age of a person. You should let whoever is older or most senior lead the conversation and try to avoid talking over them.

Basic Conversational Language

Some phrases in Chinese that are handy to know when visiting Taiwan.

  • ni-hao (Hello)
  • zai-jian (Goodbye)
  • ni-hao-ma? (How are you?)
  • xie-xie (Thank you)
  • ... zai na-ni? (Where is…?)
  • gao-xing-he-ni-jian-mian (Nice to meet you)
  • duo-sao (How much?)​​

Phone Apps

  • DUOLINGO
    Lessons are broken down into bite-sized chunks and it feels like you’re playing a game. Duolingo is a great introduction, but it can feel like you’re learning a random mix of information, often through repetition. The more you do, the more robust your vocabulary will be.
       
     
  • TANDEM
    The only way to become fluent in a new language is to speak it. Tandem is geared toward conversations with native speakers. The idea is that you can help one another learn new languages via text, audio, and video chat. The app vets you and then helps you to find a partner who shares your interests. They teach you and you teach them.
       

Currency

Renminbi Yuan (RMB)

More details on the exchange rate.

Dialing Code

+86

Useful Numbers

Shanghai

  • Police: 110
  • Shanghai Tourism Hotline: 962020
  • Fire: 119
  • Ambulance: 120
  • Singapore Embassy in Shanghai: +86-(21) 6278-5566
  • More emergency numbers

Beijing

  • Singapore Embassy in Beijing: +86-21-6278 5566

Other City

  • Singapore Embassy in Chengdu: +86-(28) 8652 7222
  • Singapore Embassy in Xiamen: +86-(592) 268-4691
  • Singapore Embassy in Guangzhou: +86-20-389-12345

Databases

Local Media Source

This section links to the various local news media in China.

RSS News Feed

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What To Look Out

This section informs the common scams and crimes to look out for when visiting China.


Scams

  • Common Tourist Scams
    Learn how to protect yourself from these common scams and crimes when visiting China.

Crime & Security

Books

This section lists some recommended readings about China.

Acceptable Use Policy

Electronic resources (e.g., databases, datasets, e-journals, e-books and streaming audio/video) provided by the SMU Libraries are governed by license agreements that restrict use to current students, faculty and staff of SMU and the Singapore Copyright Act.

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy