Dr. Donald South (an American sociologist) stressed the importance of nonverbal communication among human beings. Dr. South pointed out that people communicate not only through verbal language, but also in nonverbal languages which include gestures, eye contacts, facial expression, physical touches and symbols. To a certain degree, people employ body language in expressing feeling, exchanging ideas, and conveying messages. Body language becomes particularly important in cross cultural communication. To a limited degree, people can reach their goal of communication by showing the same gesture or the same facial expression under a certain circumstances. They are able to express their true meaning or basic attitudes towards each other. On the other hand, nonverbal language also helps people enhance their expressions during their communication.In China, nonverbal communication plays an important role not only in personal communication but also in intercutural communication as well. during Ming and Qing Dynasties, thousands of Jesuits came to China to preach Christianity. Although they chose verbal communication as their basic method, they thought highly of the importance of nonverbal communication.
In ancient China, an individual's identity or position in a society was manifested through clothing. In order to blend into the Chinese society, the Jesuits employed the various advantages of nonverbal communication. When they first came to China, they just wore gowns for Buddhists, but they soon changed them into Chinese intellectuals' costumes. Not only were they conscious of the garments they wore, the Jesuits were also sensitive to their appearance in general. They made effort to conform to the habits of the Chinese intellectuals' communication style, writing books and presenting one another with poems. Besides, they even changed their European names into Chinese ones. All this shows much about the philosophy of nonverbal communication. the Chinese' nonverbal communication speaks volumes. Since the Chinese strive for harmony and are group dependent, they rely on facial expression, tone of voice and posture to tell them what someone feels.