May 5, 2006

China warns tourists against spitting overseas

BEIJING (Reuters) - Some Chinese tourists have been warned
that while spitting, slurping food and jumping queues may
merely disgust people at home, they are sometimes not tolerated
abroad, Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

The increasing number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad
may be a huge new source of income to destination countries,
but that won't prevent complaints against individuals from
reflecting badly on all of China, Xinhua said.

"The media in Singapore reports that hotel staff are upset
with Chinese tourists spitting in their rooms and smoking in
bed," it said.

"...Singapore airline companies also criticized Chinese
tourists for talking loudly and being very rude. Even Hong Kong
newspapers have pointed out that some mainlanders lack manners
and social graces."

Beijing residents said last year spitting in public was
what they could not stand most about living in the Chinese
capital, followed close behind by dog owners who fail to clean
up after their pets.

Beijing has launched a campaign to make its citizens more
"civil" in the run-up to hosting the 2008 Olympics. Games
organizers have repeatedly said the city needs to teach its
people to stand in line, stop spitting and littering and
generally be better mannered.

Past efforts to stamp out the spitting habit, like a 2003
campaign to help curb the spread of SARS, have not been very
effective, partly because many people believe clearing the
lungs and firing away is good for your health.