Some Practical Issues, some things I found on-line.
Throughout China, there is only one time zone. China is never on daylight savings time!
China has a low crime rate; however crime has increased in the past few years, principally in the major cities. Foreigners have seldom been victims of violent crime. It is still wise to be cautious with your personal possession in public place. There are pickpockets active in crowded areas such as stations, markets, shopping areas, etc. Do not show off your money in public. Use your safe in the hotel room and don't bring too much cash with you when you don't need it.
Five working days in a week is the official government regulation. Working hours are 8 hours a day, normally from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with one hour break for lunch. All the government offices, institutions, schools, hospitals and other units do not work on Saturdays and Sundays, except some factories whose "weekends" may be within the week to avoid the electricity high peak. The emergency clinic is open when the hospital is closed. Shops are open everyday, normally from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Chinese Laundries are not as popular as in the U.S. There is also no coin-op Laundromats. However, laundry services are available at most hotels, usually via the floor attendants.
The Bank of China accepts MasterCard, American Express, Dynasty, Visa, JCB, and Diners Club cards.2% is always charged for card transactions.
Various customs relate to meal times at the Chinese table. Round dining tables are preferred over rectangular ones as they seat more people and allow diners to face each other without any implicit or explicit status differentiation in seating (such as the western tradition of the head of a household sitting at the 'head' of the table). At a meal, social status is leveled, and all are equal. Mealtimes are the arena for family discussions, though the discussion of 'misfortune' topics such as death is considered bad manners.
Other bad mannered practices include playing with the chopsticks during a meal (for example banging them on the table), or using a spoon used for personal eating for serving from a communal plate or bowl. Never eat everything on your plate, this is also bad manners.
When you depart China there is a 90 Yuan ($11) departure tax (payable only in Chinese currency). If traveling with a tour, departure taxes are usually included; but if you are traveling as a FIT (Foreign Independent Traveler), don't forget to save enough Yuan. Departure tax on all domestic flights is 50 Yuan ($6), payable at a special airport tax desk before check-in.
Foreign tourists are required to fill in a cursory Health Declaration Form (distributed before arrival).
Today, attitudes towards tipping are changing. Although the practice is not officially recognized, tips are now frequently offered to and accepted by travel guides, tour bus drivers, porters and waiters in top-class hotels and restaurants.
However, tipping is still not expected in most restaurants and hotels. So ask the guide whether a tip is necessary and how much when you are uncertain. Sometimes, small gifts such as paperbacks, cassette tapes and western cigarettes appear to be preferred.
Gift packaging should be red or any other festive color. White and black are ominous and should be avoided. It is not proper, and is even considered to be unfortunate, to take a clock as a gift or to choose one having to do with the number four, which sounds like death in Chinese. Even though even numbers are considered as good luck, the number four is an exception. Do not brag about your gift in front of the recipient, and you should use both hands when presenting it. Generally, the recipient may graciously refuse the present when first offered. In this case, you should correctly assess the situation and present it once again. If the recipient did not open your gift, it does not mean that he or she is not interested in it. It is polite to open it after you leave.
Electricity in China is 220V, 50 cycles, AC. Two-pin sockets and some three-pin sockets are in use. Most of the hotels have a socket in the bathroom for both 110V and 220V. However, outside of the bathroom, only 220V sockets are provided. Although an adapter may be borrowed from the hotel, it is recommended you bring your own adapter plug.
The tap water is not suitable for drinking. Only drink bottled water. Close your mouth in a shower. Use bottled water for bushing your teeth!
China does not recognize dual nationality. The Nationality Law of China holds that as soon as a Chinese takes a foreign citizenship, he will automatically lose his Chinese citizenship. Never bring your Chinese adopted child back into China on a Chinese passport!!!They may not let you leave the country with your child.
Some restrooms in China are still pretty primitive -- so be prepared. Take your own toilet paper. Most public toilets are the squat type so start exercising your thigh muscles and practice squatting.
Handshaking is considered formal greeting behavior in China. It is used to show respect, but only if the person is someone important, like a government official or a businessman. The grip should be firm, but not overly strong, and should not be prolonged because Chinese, like other Asians, prefer a brief handshake. After shaking hands, you may exchange your name or the title of your company with each other and then proceed to carry out the affairs.
Always carry a copy of the address of your hotel with you (in Chinese). If you get lost you can take a taxi home. Make sure everyone, including your children also have a hotel business card!
Tie multi colored ribbons on all your luggage so you can find it in the airport. Put your name and address on the inside and outside of your bags.
Make a copy of your passports. Put the originals in the hotel safe, and carry the copies as ID, unless you know you are going to need them for business. Your passports,and adoption documents, and airline tickets are very very important and need to be locked up in a safe. Don't carry these things around unless you need them.
Buy and wear a money belt. Put a small amount of cash in your backpack or pocket, so you don't need to pull the money belt out.