This may be a personal question ( meaning, coincidentally the conduct of the question has not happened in my life. ).

Fist and Palm Salute ( English ) is the traditional Chinese greeting pose, indicating the one that poses it have no enmity to the peers, but I was born in 1974, ever since in business scene nor informal scene I have never met anyone pose like this. ( Although even in linked page the pose looks like being practiced in modern China. )

Thanks to bukwyrm in the answer, Fist and Palm salute and Hold Fist Salute ( both of which are explained in the link ) are different. So though I watch many, like Jackie Chaen or Jet Li is doing the Hold Fist Salute but it is intended for Kung-Fu fighting.

I am talking about Fist and Palm salute which was already prevalent even in Three Kingdom Age, whose movie is depicting lots of Chinese generals using it back then to say something to his lords. Like this one ( I am sorry it is in Japanese ). ( 2:25~ )

Did the fist and palm salute survive the Mao's Four Olds?

If Semaphore puts is it is more observed in Taiwan not in mainland China, that might indicate something more deep. ( I have only just one been to Taiwan for a trip but did not observe carefully. ))

Out of curiosity, has it ever happened in your life if anyone met Chinese in the past?

  • I have seen this in China within the past few years. I should start doing it too, probably. Probably less common in Beijing and Shanghai than smaller towns and cities. However, I don't remember the situations when I saw it. Might have been young men acting silly.
    – axsvl77
    Mar 5, 2019 at 13:46
  • oh, but I have been to Ürümqi in Xingiang province ( very rural area ) for a trip back in 1991, but I met nobody doing so...
    – user12387
    Mar 5, 2019 at 13:50
  • I think I saw it in Hebei or Jiangsu province, and maybe once a month. I will observe more closely this summer.
    – axsvl77
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:16
  • @axsvl77 Thanks ^^.
    – user12387
    Mar 5, 2019 at 14:18
  • 1
    This is actually fairly regularly seen at Taiwanese elections, though less as a greeting and more as an expression of gratitude. I believe it is also used in certain formal events in the same sense.
    – Semaphore
    Mar 7, 2019 at 13:40

2 Answers 2


Oddly enough I was just watching the documentary People's Republic of Desire last night, which is about the Chinese streaming platform YY. Several performers are frequently seen making versions of this gesture. I commented on it to my wife, who is ethnically Chinese (but not from China) and she said she mainly associates it with kung-fu movies.

In most cases throughout the film, the YY hosts are clearly using the Hold Fist version, rather than the Fist and Palm. But here's a frame from around 10:37 of the documentary where it looks like the Fist and Palm was intended:

Big Li sltes his fans, 10:37 in *People's Republic of Desire

As for what is normal in business situations, here is a quote from the Hong Kong newspaper, South China Morning Post, referring the Fist and Palm version:

Although this traditional Chinese greeting is fairly uncommon these days, some Hongkongers may opt to use it instead of a handshake if they are ill and wish to avoid passing on germs.

  • Thanks for your fast info. But as you say, I commented on it to my wife, who is ethnically Chinese (but not from China) and she said she mainly associates it with kung-fu movies. So it would be very likely that in ordinary situations, people shake hands ( as I did with Chinese ). May be would you confirm with your wife with sorry?
    – user12387
    Mar 5, 2019 at 12:57
  • May be your answer fits with my question "Has anyone seen...", so that I would like to select yours as answer. If you happen to have time, please kindly provide me with additional info with many thanks.
    – user12387
    Mar 5, 2019 at 13:15
  • Oh, thank you. That would be the direct course :). Thanks.
    – user12387
    Mar 5, 2019 at 13:25
  • I added a bit more info to the answer which addresses that aspect of your question. I might also recommend you to try r/China or r/Sino on Reddit, or perhaps a Chinese culture forum like this.
    – Brian Z
    Mar 5, 2019 at 13:26
  • 2
    The link in OP's question leads to a site that makes a difference between hold-fist (Kung Fu) and fist-and-palm (everyday, old) salute.
    – bukwyrm
    Mar 5, 2019 at 13:30

Did the fist and palm salute survive?

Yes it does. In fact people are still doing it everywhere, except it's been used less especially in one-to-one situation where hand shake is much practical and simple (I will explain below).

When people cannot establish a handshake, for example, in video phone call, or if you are on the stage and there's fifty-hundred people watching you, etc, the fist and palm salute is often used to express gratefulness or respect.

However very few people still use it for everyday hello unless for very formal situation nowadays, generally because it is very easy to do it wrong:

First, there are two ways of making it, one way for congratulation, one way for condolences. Now imagine making the condolences salute on someone's birthday, or make the congratulation one in someone's funeral.

And then, it differs, in fact 100% opposite for male and female: For male, right hand fist with Left hand palm is for congratulation, left hand fist with right hand palm is for condolences. And for female, it is exactly the opposite.

Although most people don't care about it too much nowadays, still it is very hard to avoid some minority from nitpicking. So if you prefer to keep it simple and afraid of making mistakes, JUST SHAKE HANDS, it's much easier that way.

  • Thank you for your answer. By the way, I have a question. Did you try to say "to avoid nitpickers" instead of "to avoid cherrypickers"? I'm sorry it is a bit hard for me to understand the latter phrase. Thanks anyway.
    – user12387
    Apr 11, 2019 at 22:02

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