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Uncouth Chinese tourists cause global embarrassment to Beijing regime

Uncouth Chinese tourists cause global embarrassment to Beijing regime
February 20, 2015

Cashed-up Chinese tourists' reputation for uncouth and embarrassing behaviour has led the Chinese Government to issue a stern warning to citizens travelling overseas during this week's Chinese New Year.

Chinese holidaymakers heading overseas are being warned that any bad behaviour will be swiftly punished with a public shaming on their return.

The harsh new measures follow a spate of international incidents involving Chinese mainlanders that have become viral sensations.

This includes excruciating video clips of Chinese tourists defecating on public streets, hurling abuse at shop keepers, and getting into fights from Hong Kong to Germany.

Extreme examples include a Chinese teenager who recently scratched his name into a 3,500 year old temple in Egypt while a group of Chinese tourists decided to wash their feet - en masse - at the Louvre.

China's new-found prosperity has unleashed a staggering 85 million first-time Chinese tourists around the world in the past few years.

But as tourist operators scramble for a piece of the Chinese market, Wanning Sun, a media professor at the University of Technology Sydney, says the alarming behaviour of the few is causing serious embarrassment for the Middle Kingdom.

Professor Sun told the ABC “the Chinese government has reason to be concerned about this.

"The government has spent lots and lots of money aiming to get international, particularly Westerners, to like China, to have a better image of China."

Professor Sun, who grew up in mainland China, says while the bad behaviour has been wildly exaggerated by social media, it is almost entirely due to one particular group of tourists - China's crass new rich or "boa fah hu".

This group, she says, has the same obnoxious manners as their Australian equivalent, the ‘boganaire’.

Professor Sun added “its a particular class of consumer, someone who got rich overnight, by whatever means.

"They haven't necessarily had the good education, their taste is vulgar and they think because they have money wherever they go people should defer to them.

"They carry that sort of uncouth behaviour with them overseas to the great embarrassment of the Chinese government as well as the very well educated and civilised Chinese people."

China's national tourism body this week launched a comprehensive new guide to would-be globe trotters on how to behave civilly in foreign countries.

The guide includes advice for tourists to not pick their noses, leave footprints on toilet seats or to urinate in swimming pools while limp handshakes and swearing or shouting at people are also frowned upon.

With tourist operators around Asia steeling themselves for the huge surge of Chinese visitors celebrating the New Year, Thailand's government this week took the unprecedented step of handing out a local etiquette guide in Mandarin.

However, Professor Sun, may be a risky strategy suggesting that insulting all Chinese tourists for the behaviour of a few reflects the huge ambivalence towards China's new found spending power in the world.

She suggests that China is just following the well worn path of other newly flush nations who all have to make those first baby steps into the often bewildering world of global tourism.

Professor Sun concluded "if you look at other countries like Taiwan in the 60s and 70s or South Korea or even Japan a couple of decades ago you had similar kinds of complaints and prejudice and stereotypes.

"Now is the turn of the Chinese tourists. They are just the new kids on the block."

Click here to view the original ABC report.



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