You can force tips on people, but their immediate response is to refuse.. sometimes I force tips on people who do excellent little services for me like, the car guy who comes to fix my shit when it’s broken somewhere and he personally grabs a cab to wherever I’m at almost immediately, or essentially anyone who goes above and beyond to get something done for me, like the guy I argued with over cab fare to the airport (very early, no return fares, so he was like “80 minimum!” I was like “50! or use the machine!” etc..) ended up giving him 100 because he drove like a madman and got me there on time 😀
What you will notice, though, is as you go to different cities – like Shenzhen, you’ll be expected to tip at different places. Massage places, some restaurants, anything frequented by HK’ies who drive up for cheap service – they tip, and the people get used to it so expect it (and ask for it shamelessly… “Tipsie?” with fingers rubbing). Nicer restaurants etc in Shanghai expect tips, too, I found – at least western ones..not so much for Chinese ones.
It’s an awkward thing here. In general in Chengdu, don’t tip. It also kind of pisses me off that tipping isn’t common, I blame the generally shitty service on that…sure service is really cheap, but it’s almost never done with a smile or pleasant interactions, and people just blankly go about their job with almost no passion. Makes sense with no additional incentive and shitty pay, but sucks for someone who wants good service.