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Q: Why do Chinese people not answer questions?

we have all been there i am sure:

you meet a Chinese person (or a group) and the 'interrogation' starts.

the questions range from the mild and innocuous:

   Where are you from?

   Do you like (insert word here)

to the bizzare

to the creepy / disgusting

 

and these could come from people you know well to random strangers.

 

but when I ask even the same (cilvil and/or innocuous) questions in return - there is nothing.

from a blank face to ignoring me or my question (as if ignoring the question makes it go away) and this to my face.

 

there appears to be no sense of the Chinese person understanding how rude (and childish) this is.

not to mention that is shows a complete lack of respect and contempt, as if being 'hospitible' only means saying 'we welcome foreigners, but only as something to be used to their advantage, not as people.

 

on another thread i asked a poster the same questions that he asked us, only to be ignored.

this is something only a child would do (in my experience)

yet he claimed to have a 'good friend who was European' so would be familiar with the expectation of the nature of Q&A between people.

 

to me, this is the main way Chinese people lose face and makes them seem untrustworthy.

With all this talk of 'you don't understand China' when i ask questions to gain more of an understanding there are only blank stares.

 

I did find another older question on the same theme, but was not satisfied with the anwers.

https://answers.echinacities.com/question/chinese-do-not-answer-direct-questions

 

your thoughts?

1 year 33 weeks ago in  Culture - China

 
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did you expect a Chinese person to answer here ? 

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1 year 33 weeks ago
 
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They might be trained just to listen without a doubts ...

 

I've always had a problem to spur a discussion in Chinese classes ...

 I felt like I am a cop ... keep asking questions ..., but I've always considered a lack of English fluency was the reason for silence.

 

Now, here when you tossed a Q at Wang (OP) and he wouldn't answer it, I had a feeling he's conducting a survey. I was even thinking, if there is a way to make money by keep asking questions. 

I came across an English teaching job online advert, where I got a questionnaire with more than 30 questions. Once, I would submit a filled survey, I would qualify for the next step, buTT ... the next step never came .., so there sure is a way to earn something by doing surveys.

 

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1 year 33 weeks ago
 
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General

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The avatar and score on that post from 7 years ago seem vaguely familiar but I just can't put my finger on exactly why....

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1 year 33 weeks ago
 
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Chinese are trained to be spys from a young age...lol...ask questions gain knowledge...but don't tell the enemy anything..lol...Huawei is the equivalent of MI6 only Huawei knows more.
Its like this thread...you can only see it on the VPN because George has quarantined us from infecting the Chinese users with truth and facts

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1 year 33 weeks ago
 
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did you expect a Chinese person to answer here ? 

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1 year 33 weeks ago
 
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i chatted to a Chinese friend on this issue, and she said that it seems some Chinese people like to test the tolerance limit of foreigners by incessent questioning.

likewise for refusing to answer questions.

 

so - we are an experiment / entertanment, not actually real people.

but then we know that already, as Chinese people can be quite transparent in this respect.

 

 

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1 year 33 weeks ago
 
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Seven years in China and I had not one Chinese friend. Much of the reason for this was the fact that even those with the best of English they could not hold a proper conversation and would resort to asking stupid questions. I would, in turn, ask my own even more daft questions until they shut up and left me alone. 

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1 year 33 weeks ago
 
Posts: 718

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Let's be honest here. The only value you as a foreigner posses is to exploit for profit of some kind. Profit could be financial, face, ridicule to get face, just to hate on outsiders. It is rare to to point of non-existent when a Chinese person is your friend simply because they like you and uou share some interests. They always want something. Always.

The ubiquitous awkward and crude questioning is them just attempting to imitate a conversation and attempting to trigger a response that will affirm an ingroramous' view of the world.

They are also trying to be cunning in not answering a question or giving non-answers. It is culturally ingrained that if someone knows something about you, then they will at some point use that knowledge against you (for their own profit/benefit).

Everything is about exploiting someone or a situation for profit and benefit.

On a side note, have you ever noticed that no Chinese person will ever just call or wechat you with "Hey, how's it going? Do you want to hang out tomorrow?"
Never. No Chinese person will contact you unless they want something that will profit/benefit them and expect/demand you drop what you are doing to comply. Once you've done it, they ghost you again.
If you don't do it, expect a tantrum, some transparent emotional blackmail and then threats "But we are good friends. I will report you. I hate Japan."

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1 year 33 weeks ago
 
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Why do Chinese people not know how rude they are when they don't answer civil questions?

 

In the eyes of non Chinese, this makes them seem uncivilised and ignorant.

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1 year 32 weeks ago
 
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90% of them don't know what I just asked (I'm being generous), and that brings 'Face' into it...

 

“It is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

Here is a verse from the Bible that sounds similar, but clearly different:

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” – Proverbs 17:28 NIV

haha,,, I asked an English teacher about 20 times,,  where is the 'copier machine',,,  she got totally stuck on 'coffee machine',,,,,,,   haha,,,, 'There is no coffee machine.',,,  damn,,, I still lmao about that....,,,,,,,,,   ***white guy from America I Must be looking for the 'coffee machine'.  :p Tongue

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1 year 32 weeks ago
 
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I honestly don't know what you are referring to.  If I ask "Where are you from?" or "Do you like..." I always get an answer.  I will only get this type of treatment for asking questions they don't want to answer.  Specifically sensitive topics.

 

In my opinion the locals are extremely friendly.

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8 weeks 2 days ago
 
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Common folk

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Don't forget they might be afraid of giving an answer that some important people might disagree with. it is better to be safe than sorry.

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8 weeks 1 day ago
 
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It is the rabbit and headlight syndrome for the majority; yet there are some 'special' cases stuck in teenage vanity mode, or succumbing to inert xenophobia; these few will prevail with a mixutre of coaxing ('I'm just trying to help') and formal encouragement, ('stand up and answer').  Then again the direct nature of western culture exaccerbated by poor listening and speaking skills is more often the cause; and that is crux of our cause. Pity the passive aggressive - it's lonely enough already without more ostracism.  Above all let them laugh at, and with you - your mates do and they love to talk to you.

 

 

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6 weeks 3 days ago
 
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Common folk

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Lived and taught in China (Shanghai) for 5 years.... My advice to you if you are there: Do yourself  a really big favor,  LEAVE.

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6 weeks 3 days ago
 
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Governor

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Wow, seeing how long ago ths question was posted, makes the email seem like click bait!  But having spent many years living in China, & having taught most of that time, along with being married to a Chinese national, I add my answer from a lot of time, since there are some very recent answers.

 

As anyone living there, & especially teaching there would've learned in the first weeks: most Chinese can't speak English, despite having English classes throughout their school lives. Except for English teachers, & a few other teaches, there are very few adults that speak English. When I first went there in 2009, to teach in a small county, most of my students understood & spoke English. And while travelling, I could always find people of college age that spoke & understood well. By the time I left, there were much less students that could understand. Yet older friends thought it strange that I still had only learned a minimal amount of putonghua, even though they could only understand much less English.

 

I was at my first school & at the following one to help 10th graders (gao yi) with pronunciation, as an Oral English teacher. But at that second school, there were less due to more focus on math subjects. I had students that could ask where I was from & the other typical questions they were previously taught, but had no idea what I was saying, if I asked how they were in a differnt way than they were taught.  Example: A boy who I had seen doing physics homework in my class, I met the following year on way to supper, told my "Hello, teacher."  I told him hi & "How's it going?"  His reply with a puzzled look was, "I sorry, my English is poor."  Yeah, that's really poor, when you realize what I mentioned above, that they've had English classes sinece first grade!  

And at that time, English training schools were opening everywhere, but with very few Chinese teachers who could pronounce correctly.

 

Now back to the rest of the question. When students asked me questions about personal things that citizens of most countries would consider rude, I'd tell them that asking adults how old they are &  how much money they make is considered rude. I even thought about comparing it to asking their mothers' bra size. You've also no doubt had complete strangers walk up, or even yell from a passing car or bike, "Where are you come from?" I used that question in my classes to teach the correct form. Of course, in the States, & obviously in all developed countries such behavior is plainly called IGNORANT.  But so are many other actions that seem pretty common throughout China, like hocking a loogie anywhere, & normal spitting on floors of stores, schools, restaurants, etc, smoking in areas clearly designated "no smoking", sitting in restaurants with shirts raised above their (men) stomachs, letting toddlers urinate on steps, near entrances, even inside malls or supermarkets. Rather than ask to use the restroom at a business, parents & grandparents will take the toddler outside to urinate in front of the establishment. 

 

Being so used to poor English in posts in comment sections of various articles, I've become pretty good at spotting Chinese trying to pass as "foreigners", such as the CCP's so-called 50 cent army aka wumao or nationalists like "little pinks", so I suspect the question was actually posted by a Chinese. In fact, many of the answers are definitely from non-native English speakers.  I look forward to returning post CCP to teach true Chinese history. 

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6 weeks 3 days ago
 
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different world

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6 weeks 2 days ago
 
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Well, I have not lived nor taught in China but have lived in varius countries including the so called "developed" countries where people have some reactios or actitudes that can perfectly be named as IGNORANT!!. For instance, turning their faces or pretending not to understand the question if hearing a non local accent.  People jumping the queus in front of you at the metro because you look foreing and who cares what you are going to say! And yes, in "developed countries" they also pick their nouses in the metro and jawn, caugh or fart in your face or in front of you.  Or push you in the streets as you are standing on their way!  or even better, talking very loud to you thinking you will understand them better.  And let's be hones, some native English people are not even understood by their own countrymen, and they pretend to teach english just after 20 hours on line course. They get upset they are not understood by foreign English students!!!  My question is: How many of those people have learnt or even have tried to learn another language?  How may of them are only able to understand bit of the foreing language in the written form, but when listening to a native speaker or having to talk, they chicken out... i would like to hear how long have taken some forigners to learn to speak chinese fluently and been properly understood in China.  Well, the few ones who have tried!!

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5 weeks 5 days ago
 
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Governor

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Please do not make a personal judgement. Please clarify your qustions with someone whom can understand English and Chinese.

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5 weeks 5 days ago
 
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Will Chinese are one of the racists person that I've ever known, a piece of advice. Leave!

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4 weeks 6 days ago
 
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Governor

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I notice that many of the recent comments on this question are from 'one hit wonder' alias's.
 

none of them respond to the questions that they are asked - Chinese perhaps?

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1 week 6 days ago
 
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Governor

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They answer with a question, and you?

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1 week 4 days ago
 
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I think they only filtered the valuable questions fhat they want to answer depends on their mood, lol.

Blondie_:

in which case they are very 'moody' 
indecision

6 days 6 hours ago
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