Cultural Revolution in China: Chinese Tourists Get Guidebook for Civilised Behaviour

By @sunnypeter on

If you thought Chinese have a reputation for uncouth behaviour while abroad, you may want to change your mind now. The next time you see a well-behaved Chinese tourist, know where the instructions came from. 

In an effort to ensure that its citizens travelling abroad as tourists do not earn the country a bad name, China's National Tourism Administration publicised a 64-page guidebook on their Web site. Titled "Guidebook for Civilized Tourism," the publication contains an illustrated list of do's and don'ts to ensure the Chinese people behave as "civilised" tourists abroad.

The guide is designed to educate people on how to behave in their own country as well as abroad. The guidebook's release was timed perfectly to coincide with China's "Golden Week" of public holidays which began on Oct 1. Millions of Chinese take a vacation during this period and an increasing number of affluent Chinese travel abroad.

Decent public behaviour is the key to being a good Chinese citizen abroad. So, for instance, the guidebook instructs them to keep their nose hair neatly trimmed and to compy with rules in non-smoking areas. 

On the other hand, they are discouraged from certain behaviours that are perceived as bad by the public abroad. Among the don'ts enumerated in the guidebook include picking their noses in public, urinating in pools, stealing airplane life jackets, throwing rubbish or shouting in public. The guidebook further warns them that their habit of forcing locals to take their photos is considered annoying by residents abroad.

In addition, the guide has country-specific briefs. When in Germany, Chinese tourists were told to only snap their fingers to call dogs but never to call humans. Meanwhile, in Spain, Chinese women must always wear earrings in public or else be considered effectively naked.

The guidebook also has snippets for Chinese visiting not-so-friendly Japan. Visitors to Japan were advised to avoid fidgeting with hair or clothes in restaurants.

With Chinese expenditure abroad reaching $102 billion in 2012, the World Trade Organisation named China the new number one nation with regards to the amount spent travelling abroad.  In volume terms, international trips by Chinese travellers reached 83 million, up from 10 million in 2000.

The guide comes as China introduced its first ever tourism law on Tuesday, showing that authorities are keen to get a grip on the tourism trade.   

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