BEIJING–Chinese tourists should not pick their noses in public, pee in pools or steal airplane life jackets, China’s image-conscious authorities have warned in a handbook in their latest effort to counter unruly behavior. The National Tourism Administration publicized its 64-page Guidebook for Civilized Tourism — with illustrations to accompany its list of dos and don’ts — on its website ahead of a “Golden Week” public holiday that started on Oct. 1.
As Chinese tourists increasingly travel abroad, they have developed a stereotype of “uncivilized behavior,” which Vice Premier Wang Yang said in May had “damaged the image of the Chinese people.” Several countries, including debt-laden European nations, have eased visa restrictions to attract increasingly affluent Chinese tourists, but reports have also emerged of complaints about etiquette. A mainland Chinese woman who in February had her son relieve himself in a bottle in a crowded Hong Kong restaurant sparked an outpouring of anger online, with some locals deriding mainlanders as “locusts.” The government has previously issued pithy guidelines telling tourists how to behave, but the latest booklet elaborated in great detail.
It warned travelers not to pick their noses in public, to keep their nose-hair neatly trimmed and, if they had to pick their teeth, never to use their fingers.
It also urged them not to occupy public toilets for long periods of time or leave footprints on the toilet seat. Nor should they pee in swimming pools.
Travelers should not drink soup straight from the bowl or make slurping sounds when eating noodles, it warned.
And after taking a flight they must leave the life jackets underneath their seats, the rulebook said, explaining that “if a dangerous situation arises then someone else will not have a life jacket.”
A tour guide surnamed Zhang who was in Hong Kong on Tuesday said his company had given him a copy of the rules at the start of the seven-day October holiday. Before this he said they had distributed a much briefer set of guidelines — which fit on a single sheet of paper. “I feel things need to be improved,” he said, standing in the city square packed with mainland tourists. “If we bring chaos to other places, it’s our image — the Chinese image — that suffers.” The handbook also dispensed country-specific advice: Chinese visitors to Germany should only snap their fingers to beckon dogs, not humans. Women in Spain should always wear earrings in public — or else be considered effectively naked. And diners in Japan were instructed not to play with their clothes or hair during a meal. A 33-year-old tourist, also surnamed Zhang, visiting Hong Kong from central Anhui province complained that the guidelines were too many and too specific. “You cannot possibly look through all of the rules before you go traveling. Also the rules are different in different places,” he said. “I think it’s not very feasible.”