What is the Middle Finger in China?

January 2, 2024
David Sunnyside

From a simple hand gesture to an elaborate symbol of affection, these Chinese hand gestures are a heartwarming step into the expressive ways in which promises and feelings are conveyed beyond words. Whether in an everyday selfie or a formal group photo, the delicate motions of these gestures add a unique layer of expression and meaning to photographs that capture the nuances of cultural and contemporary expressions in China.

While in many Western cultures the middle finger evokes anger and hostility, showing someone your middle finger in China is actually considered a very polite gesture. In fact, it is similar to how Brazilians show their middle fingers when expressing disgust or anger.

In the Chinese culture, the middle finger is often held up during meditation to promote awareness. It is also believed to be a direct channel or branch to the heart meridian, and acupuncture on or near the middle finger can treat conditions like swelling in the face or chest, hot flashes, and insomnia.

Extending the middle finger is considered a rude gesture in most countries, but it is especially offensive in Brazil where it is seen as an insult and hostility. Similarly, pointing at something with your feet is incredibly disrespectful in China because the feet are considered dirty. It is important to be aware of these cultural differences when communicating in order to avoid sending the wrong message. Having an understanding of these hand gestures can help you navigate through the nuances of Chinese culture and ensure smoother interactions.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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