The Olympics

The Olympics


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Thursday, 17 August 2006

China Educates The Uncouth

As the 2008 Beijing Olympics draws ever near, the authorities in China are aware of the PR and image issues associated with the Games. Specifically, they are focusing their attention on the impression that their own citizens make on the rest of the world. After all, the best/worst ambassadors for a country are usually its own citizens.

As such the Spiritual Civilisation Steering Committee, the Chinese etiquette watchdog, has launched an education campaign to correct the embarrassing habits of Chinese tourists at home and abroad.

The Committee's "Campaign to Promote Civilised Chinese Travellers" will last until after the Olympic Games.

The Committee states:

"Currently, the behaviour of our country's tourists is not compatible with the rapid development of the tourist industry, nor with China's international standing."

The official Xinhua news agency has already quoted Singapore media reports of airline and hotel staff complaining about Chinese tourists spitting, talking loudly and being rude. That being said, Singapore has very high standards indeed with respect to behaviour in public.

The committee has highlighted a number of areas of concern including; appearance, hygiene, courtesy, the law, the environment and public infrastructure, as damaging "the image of China as a civilised country" and generating "widespread attention and criticism domestically and overseas."

The China Daily said:

"Many tourists clear their throats loudly and spit, take off shoes aboard planes and trains, squat and smoke in public places, and often appear uncouth."

Civil servants and state company executives will be targeted for training, the general public will be educated via the media and pamphlets distributed at public transport stations, hotels, travel agencies, tourist spots, schools and work places.

I would venture to suggest that other countries could also benefit from applying such an education programme.

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