The ugly Chinese

The new breed of Chinese tourist are loud and rude, leaving many humble Chinese concerned about the nations image. Photo: Chinese tourist/ AP

WASHINGTON, October 9, 2013 — China’s economic growth spurted a surge in tourism. It was a boom, but it came with a price. Among the new crop of Chinese tourists, many left their traditional humbleness and social etiquette at home. Their misbehavior could change people’s traditional image of a polite, law abiding and humble Chinese.

These new breeds of Chinese flaunt their riches with arrogance, giving little regard for local mores. They are boisterous in public, more than willing to demonstrate their presence. Individuals cut in waiting lines with impunity, leaving trails of litter in their wake, and they tend to keep their cell phones on with loud ringtones in silenced environments.

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The national pastime of public spitting is alive and well. A mother even allowed her toddler to defecate in a train terminal in public instead of making use of the restroom. In some scenic park benches, you could find Chinese ladies flaunting their delicate piggys as they clipped their nails for all to see.

In contrast to their supposed wealth, these travelers salvaged extra coins from drying machines by using the hotel air-conditioning vents to dry their laundry. They flocked to buffet restaurants then left plates piled with uneaten leftovers. At transportation terminals, they rushed past fellow passengers to get on and off. These Chinese travelers believed they have the inherent right to take their time; the tour bus will wait because they had paid their fare.

On the other side of the business equation, some Chinese tourist agencies used every method in an out of the book to fleece their customers. On a Day Trip to the fabled Shangri-La, one tour guide demanded RMB $380, about US $60, as fee for visiting a local Tibetan family home. Dissenting tourists were warned that they could be threatened with bodily harm by local guides at Shangri-La. In the end, a persistent defiant tourist was kicked off the tour bus. The tour advertisement had touted a visit to the local Tibetan family home as one a herd of yaks and dancing by the camp fires. The actual delivery turned out to be a run of the mill singing and dancing performance with a Tibetan theme. Of course, the no refund policy applied.

Another money making gimmick involved getting customers to pay entry fees for visiting each sub-tourist site. It is akin to buying the ticket to get into Disneyland then having to pay again for each of the rides or shows in the park.

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It should be pointed out that behaviors cited above are in the minority, but those are the ones that grab attention and influence perceptions. This is a case of buyers and vendors beware.


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Tang Long

William Tang is a research analyst. Born in Taiwan, he is fluent in three dialects of Chinese and Spanish, plus survival level German and Japanese. He is a graduate of the Officers Advance Course at the General Political Warfare College, Taipei, Taiwan.

He lectures on Chinese history and culture and has two books in publication: “Tales of the Dragon – The Book of Lore,” an anthology of Chinese legends, fables, and historical anecdotes; and “Pets Only,” which recounts a pets operated eating establishment in northern Virginia. He lives with Shadow (Lab), Taz (Boxer) and Foxy Lady (Japanese Shiba Inu) in Fredericksburg, VA. He writes under the penname of TANG Long.

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