Bowing - Bowing in Mainland China and Taiwan

Bowing in Mainland China and Taiwan

The kowtow was traditionally the highest sign of reverence in Han Chinese culture but its use has been extremely rare since the collapse of Imperial China. In many situations, the standing bow has replaced the kowtow. However, in modern Chinese societies, bowing is not as formalized as in Japan and South Korea. Bowing is normally reserved for occasions such as marriage ceremonies and as a gesture of respect for the deceased, although it still sometimes used for more formal greetings. In both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, three bows are customarily executed at funerals including state funerals, ancestral worship, and at special ceremonies in commemoration of pater patriae Sun Yat-sen.

As in Japan and Korea, public figures may bow formally to apologise. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao bowed and offered his condolences to stranded railway passengers; Taiwanese Defence Minister Chen Chao-min bowed in apology for a gaffe concerning the shooting of former President Chen Shui-bian in 2004.

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