ISME 29th World Conference, Beijing China

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Preliminary presenter schedule now available.

A time-table for the week and a sample of a typical day are also available

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ISME World Conference 2010: China

About China

Beijing, 2010 logo

History

China is a country with a long history and ancient civilization. As early as 4,000 BC, there were settlements in the region of Yellow River Valley in the Neolithic era. Centuries of migration, amalgamation, and development brought about a distinctive system of writing, philosophy, art, and political organization that came to be recognizable as Chinese civilization. What makes the civilization unique in world history is its continuity through over 4,000 years to the present century.

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Economy

China has become the world's third largest economy. China's economy is primarily dependent on agriculture, industry, services and exports. Today, China is one of the largest producers of grain, cotton, oil plants, fruit, meat, eggs, aquatic products and vegetables. Chinese toys and electronics are widely popular.

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People, Values and Social Customs

Religion

The state religion is Buddhism. Taoists, Christians and Muslims are also present.

Table Manners

The main difference on the Chinese dinner table is chopsticks instead of knife and fork, but in good restaurants, you can always ask for a knife and fork, if you prefer not to use chopsticks. The real difference is that in the West, you have your own plate of food, while in China the dishes are placed in the centre of the table and everyone shares.

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Geography

The People's Republic of China Located in the east on the Asian continent on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean. It stretches about 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) from east to west, and about 5,500 km (3,400 miles) from north to south. Its land borders 14 countries, including India, North Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Vietnam and etc.

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Language

The official language is Mandarin Chinese

Most of the service staff in hotels speak fluent or simple English, so there should be no language barrier when you are in China. Of course, it will be helpful if you learn some simple Putonghua before your start.

Useful Chinese Phrases

hello ni hao
good morning zao shang hao
good afternoon xia wu hao
good evening wan shang hao
goodbye zai jian
thank you xie xie
please qing
you're welcome bu ke qi
I'm sorry dui bu qi
how much? duo shao qian?
that's too expensive tai gui le
my name is wo jiao
I'm from... wo shi cong...lai de
where is the...? ...zai na li?
I'm lost wo mi lu le
what's the time? ji dian le?
I feel ill wo bu shu fu
could you help me? ni keyi bang wo ma?
I would like... wo xiang yao...

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Climate

Climate conditions ranging from tropical, subtropical, temperate and cool-temperate vary greatly over China's vast land area, but the most part of the country lies in temperate zone. It is warm and wet with seasonal circulation of winds. The winter season in the North is bitingly cold and dust-laden. Summers in central China are long, hot and humid, but the southern and southeastern China is more humid.

During ISME 2010 expect hot weather, with cooler mornings and evenings. Air-conditioning is common in most buildings.

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Currency

About RMB

Chinese currency is called Renminbi (people's money), often abbreviated as RMB. Issued by the People's Bank of China it is the sole legal tender for both the Chinese nationals and foreign tourists. The unit of Renminbi is yuan and the smaller, jiao and fen. The conversion among the three is:

1 yuan = 10 jiao =100 fen. Chinese people normally refer to Yuan as Kuai, Jiao as Mao. RMB is issued both in notes and coins. The denominations of paper notes include 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen. The denominations of coins are 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen.

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How to Exchange RMB in China?

A foreigner can bring cash to change at the Bank of China for RMB. Foreign money can be exchanged in China through traveler's cheques, currency conversion at banks and hotels. Credit cards can also be used. What follows is a more detailed explanation.

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Credit Cards

At present, the following credit cards are accepted in China: Master Card, Federal Card, Visa, American Express, JCB and Diners Card. Holders can draw cash from the Bank of China and pay for purchases at exchange centres of the Bank of China, appointed shops, hotels and restaurants.

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Traveler's Cheques

Traveler's cheques provide a fairly secure way of carrying money.

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Currency Conversion

Money exchange facilities for both currency and travelers' cheques are available at major airports, hotels, and department stores.Exchange rates fluctuate in line with international financial market conditions and are published daily by the State Exchange Control Administration.

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Tipping

In recognition of the good service from tour guides, drivers, skycaps, waiters or bellhops, tipping which was once frowned upon has become gradually accepted as common practice in China as elsewhere in the world. In most Chinese cities but especially the internationalized metropolis of Hong Kong and Macau, tipping is very common. Tipping is not a must but will be greatly appreciated by Chinese. Since tipping is a personal matter, please do not feel uneasy about it. What or when you choose to tip depends entirely on how you rate a service but you are not under any obligation to do so.

When and where should I Tip?

Tipping frequently occurs when you are in a tour group, superior hotel, restaurant, train station and airport or somewhere else you can enjoy service. Remember that it is not necessary to tip in roadside eateries or snack stalls. Sometimes the bill in some of the places or cities may have already included about 5% - 15% service charge.

Although tipping is not required, gratuities may improve service. For the bellboys or waiters, 1-5 US dollars may be appropriate as the tip. Generally, 10%-15% of the bill is the most proper amount. For the tour guide and the driver, 1-10 US dollars a day per person is adequate.

Yes, you need to tip even though you join an organized tour. The quotation we offered doesn't include the tips for the guides and drivers. So if you are satisfactory with their service, you need to tip them yourself.

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Time

Despite China being a vast country geographically spanning several time zones the whole of China operates to a single Standard Time (GMT+8) all year round.

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