The aim of this study is to examine cross-cultural politeness behavior. Politeness appears to be a prevalent concept in human interaction, and to date, many models of politeness have been put forward in the literature. The focal point of this paper is Brown and Levinson's (1978, 1987) formulation of politeness behavior, for compared with other models of politeness, theirs is the one that most clearly maintains its pancultural validity, thus evidently claiming its application as a basis for cross-cultural comparison (O'Driscoll, 1996). In this study, the compliment response behavior of native Chinese speakers, who are typically regarded as having rules of speaking and social norms very different from those of Westerners, is compared closely with that of native American English speakers to see if it can provide evidence to support Brown and Levinson's universal thesis. The results show that while there are indeed some general concepts and dimensions of politeness that are shared by Chinese and English speakers, the different strategies they use indicate the important role culture plays in its speakers’ speech act performance. This important role should never be treated lightly when we explore the issue of speech act universality.