While gift-giving is common in Chinese society, one thing you should never do is give a Chinese person a clock. In Mandarin Chinese, the word for clock is “zhong”. The pronunciation is the same as another Chinese word, written differently, that can mean death (or the end or finish of something). As a result, if you give a Chinese person a clock, you are essentially expressing the wish for an early departure from this world for the recipient of your gift. Although the word for a watch is pronounced and written differently than the word for a clock, it is better not to give a watch as a gift either because of the similarity between clocks and watches.