Chinese Tourists Urged to Improve Their Behavior

A photo posted on Sina Weibo showing Chinese graffiti on an ancient temple in Luxor, Egypt went viral, leading netizens to dig up and reveal the vandal’s name and school name. The teenager’s parents soon made a public apology for his actions. From Slate:

The photo showed several Chinese characters scratched onto the temple, reading: Ding Jinhao was here. “The sentence means Ding Jinhao has visited this place. This was the saddest and most shameful moment I had in Egypt,” wrote Kongyouwuyi in his Weibo post, according to China’s Global Times. “I apologized to our local tour guide, who comforted me instead, saying this was not our fault, and that it should be the local guide’s responsibility to stop such behavior.”

The photograph quickly went viral and was forwarded more than 90,000 times. China’s netizens launched what is known as a “human flesh” search and in less than a day tracked down Ding, discovering he is a 15-year-old in the city of Nanjing. His school’s website was quickly hacked. The boy’s parents reached out to local media, and apologized for their son Saturday. “We want to apologize to the Egyptian people and to people who have paid attention to this case across China,” Ding’s mother told local newspaper Modern Express, according to the BBC. [Source]

The incident generated heated discussions about the behavior of Chinese tourists and led the government to announce new standards for behavior for Chinese traveling abroad. From Xinhua:

A combination of detailed regulations, the convention was issued by the National Administration and posted on the Chinese central government’s website on Tuesday.

“Being a civilized tourist is the obligation of each citizen,” according to the convention, which singles out “protecting cultural relics” as one of the norms to be abided by tourists.

The convention rejects behaviors such as doodling on, or carving characters into, ancient relics, as well as climbing or touching cultural relics. Photos can only be taken of relics when allowed by local regulations, according to the convention.

It also promotes seven other norms to be followed by citizens, including maintaining a clean environment, complying with public orders, protecting ecology, protecting public infrastructure and utilities, respecting other people’s rights, showing courtesy when with others and seeking appropriate entertainment. [Source]

Yet with the numbers of Chinese able to afford foreign travel surging, adjusting their behavior is just a natural part of the process, say some observers. From CNN:

Outbound Chinese tourism has expanded rapidly in recent years. In 2012, Chinese overtook Americans and Germans as the world’s top international tourism spenders, with 83 million people spending a record $102 billion on international tourism.

That growth has brought with it a backlash in some industry sectors.

WildChina’s Zhang said there have been similar issues in the past as Chinese citizens begin to travel internationally.

“It’s a natural process that Chinese travelers are going through, as travelers around the world have also gone through. It’s a gradual process of China’s coming out, of China’s travelers being exposed to more of the international world. It’s a natural adjustment stage,” she told CNN. [Source]

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