It’s polite to take the proffered card with both hands and to have a good look at it before putting it away – though not in your back pocket.

If you don’t speak Chinese but have your name in Chinese printed on them, they also become useful when checking in to hotels that are reluctant to take foreigners, as the staff can then copy your name into the register.

As in many countries, handing out cigarettes is a basic way of establishing goodwill, and non-smokers should be apologetic about turning down offered cigarettes.

Chinese men are, on the whole, deferential and respectful.

A more likely complaint is being ignored, as the Chinese will generally assume that any man accompanying a woman will be doing all the talking, ordering and paying.

Voice levels in China seem to be pitched several decibels louder than in most other countries, though this should not necessarily be interpreted as a sign of belligerence.

Women travellers in China usually find sexual harassment less of a problem than in other Asian countries.

Attempting to pay a “share” of the bill will embarrass your hosts.

Mainland Chinese have almost no concept of privacy – many public toilets are built with partitions so low that you can chat with your neighbour while squatting, and in some bus stations or hotel toilets, some have no partitions at all.

The generally relaxed approach to clothing applies equally when visiting temples, though in mosques men and women alike should cover their bodies above the wrists and ankles.

As for beachwear, bikinis and briefs are in, but nudity has yet to become fashionable.

While the average Chinese peasant might reasonably be expected to have wild hair and wear dirty clothes, a rich foreigner doing so will arouse a degree of contempt.

When meeting people it’s useful to have a name or business card to flash around – Chinese with business aspirations hand them out at every opportunity, and are a little crestfallen if you can’t produce one in return.

The Chinese are, on the whole, pragmatic, materialistic and garrulous.