Chinese Etiquette - Fist and Palm Salute
Date:2014.08.22 Attention: From:Topchinatravel

In China, except for handshaking, when meeting friends and relatives, paying visit to someone or in Chinese Spring Festival Celebration, fist and palm salute is also the etiquette for these situations. It is an important etiquette in ancient China with a history of more than 2000 years.

History of Fist and palm salute

The fist and palm salute was formed in ancient times. It was kind of imitation of the slave with pillory, meaning willing to be somebody’s servant. and later it became the etiquette when meeting each other. Especially in Modern China, fist and palm salute is already one of the common etiquette.

Fist and palm salute has a history of more than 2000 years. Since West Zhou Dynasty, people had already used this etiquette when meeting peers. Chinese people show their respect of others through distance, which is different from western people usually showing through physical closeness. About one hundred years ago, handshake was introduced to China.

Gesture of fist and palm salute

The gesture of fist and palm salute: firstly, stand at attention. One-hand half-fist, and then the other hand hold the right hand in front of the chest. Watching each other in the eyes, raise both hand to brow, bent down and shake hands toward each other gently. When doing the fist and palm salute, you can said “Kong Hei Fat Choy”, "Nice to meet you" to others.


1.Woman’s gesture is a little different from man. If the gesture is inappropriate, it is believed that bad things will come in ancient times and in some places of China now.

For woman, the right gesture is put left hand over right hand, while man should put right hand over left one.

2.The gesture is not suitable to use in big and official occasions such as the National People's Congress.


Meeting friends, farewell, paying visiting, etc… Fist and palm salute means greeting, say hello congratulations and so on.

When someone present fist and palm salute to you, you should do it back friendly.

Similar etiquette:

Manchu People often “Da Qian” when meeting people in daily life. Da Qian also called “Qing An” (Greeting). It was very popular in Qing Dynasty. Now it is still used in Xibe people’s daily life.