While Chinese tourists have occasionally made the headlines for their less-than-stellar behavior while abroad, their biggest critics are in fact those at home, as well-to-do Chinese lash out with harsh criticism of their “barbaric” countrymen.
In an effort to curb the unruly behavior of some Chinese tourists overseas, the Chinese government has announced that it will be launching several campaigns to better educate people on how to conduct themselves when outside the country, and is even encouraging the public shaming of those who bring shame on China through their behavior.
Li Jingzao, head of the China National Tourism Administration, announced that the administration will be building a database to categorize and profile the “uncivilized behavior” of Chinese tourists abroad. Recent acts which attracted mockery and disdain online include the AirAsia incident in which a Chinese woman allegedly threw hot water at a crew member, as well as one in which a Chinese passenger opened up the emergency exit door shortly before take-off “to get some fresh air.”
Li pointed out that these occurrences and many more showed that the China did not have a firm policy in place and that many Chinese do not understand the concept of civilized behavior abroad. Beijing is also hopeful that the programs will help improve China’s reputation on the international playing field and in turn attract more tourists.
Those reported and profiled under this program will apparently be punished duly, and the administration hopes to not only extinguish ill behavior, but also stamp out cases of Chinese tourists who falsify personal information or lie about their reasons for travelling. Proposed solutions include making marked individuals sign a contract or pay a deposit before leaving the country. China will also work with telecom companies to send a message to remind tourists to “stay safe, be polite, keep hygienic, be quiet, no graffiti and stick to the rules” upon reaching their destination.
Beijing will also encourage citizens to keep an eye on one another by having them snap pictures or videos of bad behavior, and posting the photos or footage online for public shaming. Quite how encouraging its own people to leave a permanent record of such behavior online will help improve China’s reputation, though, we’re not entirely sure.
On a lighter note, the administration also plans to invite celebrity figures to remind people to “travel in a civilized manner” when visiting other countries. They also plan to select 10,000 university students each year to travel during their summer vacations to spread the message of good behavior abroad, so we can probably expect to see lots of young, good-looking Chinese smiling and holding doors open for people at tourist spots around the world in the near future.