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China wades in on badly behaved tourists: ‘foreigners are just as bad’

China wades in on badly behaved tourists: ‘foreigners are just as bad’

Mainland media highlights cases of non-Chinese tourists behaving badly in pre-emptive move

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 February, 2015, 3:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 February, 2015, 10:11am

China’s media has turned the spotlight on non-Chinese tourists misbehaving overseas, in what appears to be a move pre-empting a new wave of criticism against its own citizens behaving badly while holidaying around the world this Lunar New Year.

One relieves himself at a corner of the wall. Photo: SCMP Pictures

“It has been said there is a phenomenon of Chinese people with uncivilised behaviour. In fact, it also applies to many foreigners,” People’s Daily Online said. “Our website has combed through a number of examples of uncivilised behaviour by foreign tourists. Let’s not learn from them. Ha!”

The state-owned media platform cited several examples of public indecency, such as the pair of American sisters arrested in Cambodia this month for taking nude shots at the Angkor temple complex, a Unesco World Heritage site.

Lindsey and Leslie Adams, from Arizona, were each fined 1 million Cambodian riel (HK$1,870) and given six-month suspended jail terms.

The website also cited a 2009 incident in which a group of foreigners camped overnight on the Great Wall in Beijing – which is prohibited – and a 2013 case when another group was caught relieving themselves on the Shanghai elevated freeway.

Other examples listed included foreigners who stepped on precious monuments, littered and swam in no-swim zones. A graphic accompanying the article reminded readers to display good public behaviour, including not smoking indoors, not misbehaving on planes, not littering, queueing up in an orderly manner and chatting quietly.


According to the China National Tourism Administration, outbound Chinese tourists spent over 60 billion yuan (HK$75 billion) abroad last year.

But some of their host countries have frowned upon their “uncivilised” behaviour.

In 2013, Vice-Premier Wang Yang said that Chinese tourists who “speak loudly in public, carve characters on tourist attractions, jaywalk [and] spit anywhere” had “damaged the image of the Chinese people”.

He urged Chinese people to obey social norms and to protect the environment when they were on vacation overseas.

A group of foreigners camp out on the Great Wall in Beijing, which is forbidden. Photo: SCMP Pictures


Case study of foreign tourists behaving badly, according to the People’s Daily Online:

  • Taking nude photos in front of heritage sites
  • Camping on the Great Wall
  • Group urinating on a Shanghai expressway
  • Swimming in the Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang province, despite “No Swimming” sign
  • Two people occupying a four-person bench
  • Climbing trees
  • Littering popcorn
  • Urinating on the Great Wall
  • Stepping on monuments

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