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Face (social custom)

Face or mianzi (面子 in pinyin: mian4 zi0) or lianzi (臉子 lian3 zi0) is an important concept in Chinese social relations.

There are two types of face in Chinese social relations lian and mianzi. Lian is the confidence of society in a person's moral character, while mianzi represents social perceptions of a person's prestige. For a person to maintain face is important with Chinese social relations. A loss of lian would result in a loss of trust within a social network, while a loss of mianzi would likely result in a loss of authority.

When trying to avoid conflict, Chinese in general will avoid causing another person to loss mianzi by bringing up embarrassing facts in public. Conversely, when challenging authority and another person's standing within a community, Chinese will often attempt to cause a loss of lian or mianzi.

See guanxi and ganqing.

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