"face saving" or not losing one's dignity & honour is important in self-preservation, especially so in chinese culture. this story illustrates the point:
When they came upon a small lake, they took off all their clothes and jumped into the water, since it was fairly secluded. Feeling refreshed, the trio decided to pick a few berries while enjoying their freedom.
As they were crossing an open area, suddenly a group of ladies from town appeared. Unable to get to their clothes in time, the American and the Japanese quickly used their hands to cover their privates. But the Chinese covered his face while they ran for cover.
After the ladies had left and the men got their clothes back on, the American and the Japanese asked the Chinese why he covered his face rather than his private part.
The Chinese replied, "I don't know about you, but in my country, it's the face that people recognize."