There's that Q again. Keqi (kuh chi) refers to a sort of system of being polite. But it's less about being polite to people because you don't want to hurt their feelings and more about being polite so you don't look bad.
Keqi overload can lead to ridiculous situations where you end up going to a restaurant nobody wanted to go to because nobody wanted to look selfish by going to the restaurant they wanted if nobody else wanted it. So you go to a restaurant everyone hates to satisfy everyone. Sure, you don't have to be Chinese to experience this, but this kind of thing is actually the goal of keqi as opposed to some kind of accidental resentment-causing situation. You go away thinking, Mission accomplished! instead of, Isn't there an episode of Seinfeld about this kind of bullshit?
"So none of us ever liked this diner?"
The other great thing is that it's an unwritten code, which means you get to learn by trial and error. So this one time, after having dinner at a family friend's house, that family's mom hands me a red envelope with money in it as I am leaving (red envelopes with money in them are the traditional Chinese gift/card combo for birthdays, holidays, graduations, thinking-of-yous and bribing officials). I think, Awesome, money! and thank her very much. My mom is watching but doesn't say anything. Back home, she knocks me down with a roundhouse, puts her boot on the back of my neck and executes me with a bullet to the back of the head. I might be exaggerating a little, things always seem bigger in childhood memories.
It was my fault for letting her get the drop on me.
Anyway, the point is, I learned to never take presents from friends and family, even though they can be pretty damn sneaky. When arguing over gifts, the nicest, mild-mannered old ladies suddenly turn into debate team pros. When I went back to Taiwan for a month's work, I saw a lot of my family there, and even though they were awesome, generous people, I was in constant terror of them because 1) they kept trying to give me gifts, which I was not allowed to take under any circumstances, and 2) I had some gifts to give them from my mom that I was not allowed to return home with on pain of death. After hours of negotiations I finally managed to dump the gifts on them and escape with only minor trinkets in return (and no money).
If Jesus had been a good Chinese kid, he would have slapped that shit back in their faces.
They really didn't seem like they would mind if I took the gifts, though, so I felt like it was all very silly until I talked to another friend that had recently gone to Taiwan. She had been in the same situation, and after being begged like 10 times to take the gifts by smiling relatives, she finally did. When she got home, her mom said her relatives had called and complained about how greedy she was.
Man, I dodged a bullet there.
Check out Christina's look at The 6 Most Statistically Full of Shit Professions, and The 11 Most Popular Internet Argument Techniques.