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First up, what's in a seating chart? In the U.S., the host always sits at the head of the table. In China, it's about modesty and showing respect. The highest ranking guest sits in the Seat of Honor (SOH), which is across from the entrance (see #1 above) OR if there are multiple entrances, the SOH is in the middle of the table facing east. The 2nd highest ranking guest sits to the right of the SOH. The 3rd highest ranking sits to the left of the SOH. And so on rotating from right and left around the (typically round) dinner table.
If you're hosting an event for professionals, visitors or friends from China and don't want to offend people, remember this seating custom. Make the most of your dining experience and plan ahead of time who you offer the Seat of Honor to. As the host, your seat is always across the table from the Seat of Honor.
Here's one more tip - if you find yourself a guest at a Chinese event, hold back and wait for the guest of honor to be seated first. Don't be "that person" who sits down first and disrupts 5,000 years of tradition!
Photo Credit: China Simplified