We have Olympic fever! But not as much as Beijing-ians. The Chinese government is like an overanxious mama, worried her kid might start picking his nose on stage at his preschool graduation. So they're bombarding the wayward citizenry with propaganda posters directing them how to act when all the weird foreigners get to town. The oddest thing is that they go to great lengths to explain how to make pale Westerners feel at ease, when in fact much of the etiquette advice seems totally unrelated to American life. It's a culture clash that will make you chuckle! Below, actual instructions to the Chinese: Whatever you do, don't ask what someone does!
Advice on "Chatting with Foreign Guests":
Don't ask about income or expenses, don't ask about age, don't ask about love life or marriage, don't ask about health, don't ask about someone's home or address, don't ask about personal experience, don't ask about religious beliefs or political views, don't ask what someone does.
Advice on "Interacting With Handicapped Athletes":
1. You should use polite and standard forms of address for handicapped athletes.
2. Try to keep as light as you can with handicapped overtones.
3. Pay attention to how you congratulate handicapped athletes.
Pay attention to avoiding taboo subjects, quit using bad platitudes, and do not use insulting or discriminatory contemptuous or derogatory terms to address the disabled. Say things such as, "You are amazing," or "You are really great." When chatting with the visually impaired, do not say things like "It's up ahead," or "It's over there." When chatting with athletes who are paraplectic in their upper body, do not say things like "It's behind you."
And finally, how to walk when the foreigners are around:
When men and women are walking together, men should generally walk on the outside, and the person carrying things should normally walk on the right. Men should help women carry things, but must not help women carry their handbags. When three people are walking side-by-side, elderly should walk in the middle. Where there are many cars around, men should walk on the side of the sidewalk closer to the street. When four people are walking together, it is best to walk two-by-two.
Yes, it's just like New York!