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Chinese Tourists – Is the Cultural Revolution Really To Blame For The Current State of Ill-Manners?

While traveling abroad to Asia (Thailand, Laos, Tokyo), my daughter reached a conclusion that Chinese tourists were the rudest she’d ever encountered whereas the Japanese were delightful. Whereas the Japanese had an “othersness” perspective regarding interactions with other people, the Chinese appear to be quite self absorbed. A traveling nation of special snowflakes.

Hers isn’t a unique opinion. Apparently Chinese tourists’ bad behavior has become so well known that the mainland China government created and issued a travel brochure detailing what are good manners for traveling abroad. The first video goes into detail about that.

What I find interesting about the two next videos is that China’s Cultural Revolution is blamed for the destruction of values, traditions, and morals seen today. So the questions I ponder are whether culture can impact an entire nation to mold a new mindset about how to behave and if that is possible, it appears that the trend is to poorer levels of consideration, common sense, and courtesy.

The etiquette police? Writing tickets?

This last video was funded in part or whole by the Chinese government.

{ 92 comments }
{ 92 comments… add one }
  • Lisa Marie September 24, 2018, 10:02 am

    I have first hand experience with Chinese tourists. I stopped at a rest stop on the New York interstate and two Chinese tourist buses were there and just leaving. The bathroom was an absolute pig sty. They did it everywhere. On the floor in several places and even in the sink. I almost vomited.

  • Dawn Pillsbury September 24, 2018, 11:39 am

    Doesn’t this happen to every up-and-coming country as their citizens get wealthy enough to be tourists?

    American tourists have long been known for ignoring local norms and generally being obnoxious. German tourists are known for wearing too little at the beach and being very demanding. I’ve heard Brazilian tourists denounced for being excessively loud and enthusiastic. People even complained about Japanese tourists’ excessive photo-taking back in the ’80s (little did they know…).

    • MzLiz September 27, 2018, 12:11 am

      I read something interesting about why many Japanese tourists take (or used to take) a lot of pictures – Apparently they get such little vacation time that they document everything by taking a boatload of photos to enjoy back home at their leisure. Now, you can look somewhere up online & see as many pictures as you like so the photography has calmed down.

  • Kristen September 24, 2018, 11:42 am

    Judgements like this often come from an etic view of culture. I would caution against making such judgements without the proper cultural competence or emic perspective. Emic meaning from within the cultural group.

    • admin September 24, 2018, 12:25 pm

      Why don’t you watch the videos since all three were created by Chinese nationals about mainland Chinese?

      • Patrick McDaniels September 24, 2018, 2:02 pm

        The first video was created by NTDTV based in NYC. NTDTV was founded by a group critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Search on Wikipedia for more info. The other videos are just two people’s perspectives. I’m sure there are many rude Chinese tourists (there are MANY Chinese), but please refrain from stereotyping an entire nation.

      • Kristen September 24, 2018, 4:23 pm

        Or I could spend time focused on my own behavior to be a better person in this world instead of judging others. More and more I feel this blog has shifted from etiquette advice for myself towards shaming other people for their failure to live up to someone else standards. How or what the Chinese government communicats to their citizens has no effect in my life. Unless of course I use it as a bench mark to say, “look how much better MY behavior is than THEIRS.”

        I thought etiquette is suppose to help you behave better, not judge and shame others for how they behave?

    • AJ September 25, 2018, 9:09 pm

      I live in Hong Kong, which is part of China and I can tell you “no”, you are wrong. Even Hong Kong people (who are CHINESE!) cannot bear the behaviour of Mainland tourists. They are appalled by them, not embarrassed, and they take great pains to differentiate themselves from Mainland tourists when overseas. Hong Kong people (who are CHINESE and live in China) find urinating and defecating in the street/elevator to be absolutely disgusting, and neither are less so when done by Mainland tourists. And I can assure you Hong Kong people (who are CHINESE and live in China) find it outrageous when Mainland tourists attack and assault airline ground- and air-crew at the departure gates and in the air!

      And now the Chinese government is calling out Sweden on “human rights” because a Mainland tourist family threw a puerile tantrum when they arrived a day early at a hostel that then called the police because the tourists refused to leave or bully their way to a free room.

      For the past 70 years, Chinese people have lived with bullies and bullying, violence and the violent, destroying and destruction. It is what they know. Of course they will carry that mindset with them wherever they go.

      Although the Chinese government, which knows there is a BIG problem with the behaviour of its citizens overseas, has produced a pamphlet advised Mainland tourists on how to behave when abroad, too many countries are afraid to say anything because of political correctness and the fear of being called “racist”.

      So when Chinese people and the Chinese government recognise the problem, then yes there is a problem, and it’s 100% okay for non-Chinese to say it too.

      jeez…
      BTW, “Emic means: of, relating to, or involving analysis of cultural phenomena from the perspective of one who participates in the culture being studied. (Not “from within the cultural group”.)

      • PJ September 26, 2018, 2:08 pm

        Thank you; I appreciate hearing a Chinese-but-not-mainland perspective.

  • Vera September 24, 2018, 12:03 pm

    I think it is sad that the Chinese government needs to make these type of videos.

    I live in an area that used to get a lot of Japanese tourists prior to the recession in the 2000s. I found they were actually the worst tourists and thought nothing of pushing others out of the way to get to where they wanted to go. My husband and I had a disagreement one time after I had been pushed around because I do not believe tourists have the right to be so rude and disrespectful. His attitude was that “they spend a lot of money to come here.” That did not fly with me! I work hard for my money too! His attitude changed after we have done more extensive world travelling and he realized that pushing and shoving isn’t a normal tourist behaviour.

  • chihuagrrl September 24, 2018, 12:12 pm

    So….we’re just gonna go full on racist here and make sweeping generalizations about all Chinese people because of one woman’s anecdotal observations? Cool.

    • admin September 24, 2018, 12:29 pm

      Typical knee jerk reaction by someone who couldn’t have been bothered to actually watch the videos embedded in the post. All videos created, produced and were published by Chinese news media or Chinese nationals embarrassed at the behavior of their mainland Chinese countrymen.

      • Take 2 September 24, 2018, 2:02 pm

        Chinese news media is regulated by the People’s Republic of China, and access to YouTube is blocked in China. NTDTV is produced in New York. The speakers in the second and third video spoke English with an American accent, I doubt they are Chinese nationals.

        • admin September 25, 2018, 12:16 am

          They identified themselves as Chinese and I’m not going to insist they are wrong.

          • Kate September 25, 2018, 7:46 am

            “Chinese” doesn’t say anything. You can be Chinese and have grown up in America. At that point, they’re really American giving an American point of view on the matter.
            There are Chinese tv networks in places other than China. They don’t speak for Chinese nationalist.

        • jessiebird September 26, 2018, 10:18 am

          There are many, many Chinese nationals who spend or have spent a significant portion of their childhoods in school in the USA or Canada. Affluent Chinese parents will offer this opportunity to their children. The West Coast, particularly the Pacific Northwest, has many Chinese nationals living there.

          This is why they have a North American accent in English. Accent in any language, in this day and age, means much less than it has in the past in terms of nationality, or cultural or ethnic identity.

      • Devini have to September 24, 2018, 5:51 pm

        I wouldn’t count the last two links as news media, they are self promoting vloggers or YouTube personalities (rate, review, subscribe). The first link sounds like thinly veiled anti communist propaganda. No research, links or references to any of their claims that China before communism was the polite, moral, and ethical Mecca claimed by different speakers in each of these clips.
        Also, statistically speaking there will be more rude tourist from a country of several billion thAn from most other countries combined just based on the fact that there are rude people from every country. Finally, the video from Shanghai Disney looks like they need to limit the number of tickets sold. They do not have enough trash barrels, toliets, seats, or resting places for the people visiting. Go to almost any music festival grounds the day after and it will look like this or worse because they minimize amenities to maximize ticket sales.
        I wish you’d rethink this post, and the critiques against it. It’s not news and it does appear to be culturally biased reporting.

        • LizaJane September 24, 2018, 6:48 pm

          I didn’t see any stats on the number of trashcan or bathrooms. How did you find out there aren’t enough?

          • LovleAnjel September 25, 2018, 10:21 am

            You can tell the number/location of trash receptacles was off because there was so much litter. Disney did studies to find out about how far people walked with trash before just dropping it, then placed trash cans closer together than that number. If they applied the American design to a Chinese park without re-doing the study to make sure the numbers were the same, that’s kind of on them.

          • LizaJane September 26, 2018, 1:47 pm

            Love angel, No. It’s on the person who won’t carry their trash to the trash can.
            Either walk that far or keep the trash in hand until a receptaxle is handy.

            There is no excuse for throwing trash on the ground and walking off and leaving it.

        • rindlrad September 24, 2018, 6:57 pm

          First, thank you for your calm and measured tone. It’s refreshing to not just read RACIST, RACIST, RACIST!!!!!!! as an argument.

          Second, please go back and read Admin’s post and comments for comprehension. She doesn’t claim that the last two videos are “News Media.” Only that they are Chinese Nationals. As to the first video, I don’t know enough about China or understand Chinese to judge if it is an actual news segment or government announcement (same in China?). It does appear that these are people IN China saying that Chinese tourists behave badly and have a bad reputation in other countries. Why is it not ok to talk about the subject of foreign tourists behaving badly? As an American I’m seriously stunned to learn that this subject is verboten. 🙂

  • clownface September 24, 2018, 1:01 pm

    Was admin hacked? I don’t understand what the purpose of this post is? True, these videos appear to have been created by people who are Chinese, but that last one could very easily be narrated by a Chinese-American. Regardless, I’m not clear on what conversation Admin is seeking to have with this post.

  • Catherine St. Clair September 24, 2018, 1:27 pm

    We have to post signs in restaurant’s restrooms reminding employees to wash their hands (some add “with warm water”) and, from what I observe, many people think that not being an employee exempts them from that rule. I frequently find toilets that have not been flushed, but their contents have been covered with a multitude of paper towels. My local recycling center reminds people that old mattresses, tires, metal (except for tin and aluminum) have to be taken to the county dump, but there are always piles of old mattresses, tires, metal, et al strewn all over the ground as soon as the attendant leaves for the day. Given that I have yet to see anyone who appears to be of Asian descent in this county, I shall pass on commenting on what the Chinese do. I am too busy fending off my fellow Americans with Lysol and anti-bacterial wipes.

    • Erin September 25, 2018, 12:29 pm

      FYI the “employees must wash hands before returning to work” signage is for health department compliance, a dictate that’s a relic from the first part of the 20th century when we learned the importance of hygiene for preventing the spread of disease. These signs were part of that push by public health agencies to spread awareness and change what was newly learned to be a behavior risky to public health.

      • Catherine St. Clair September 26, 2018, 3:07 pm

        True, but Louis Pasture discovered germs in the 1850’s. That was the 19th century. Is there seriously anyone in this country who does not know to wash his/her hands after using the toilet, changing a cat’s litter box, when handling a baby, or is totally confused by a surgeon having to scrub before surgery? I went to school a very long time ago, but our teachers in elementary school had sinks in the classrooms so we could wash our hands. We all knew how to use soap and water. Now, sanitary wipes are everywhere. Those signs should be superfluous. If they are not, we need to better educate some of our people.

  • Medowynd September 24, 2018, 1:33 pm

    In regard to the loss of manner due to the Cultural Revolution, take a look at East Germany and other countries that were liberated from communism. The older citizens were used to the government taking care of them: providing jobs, housing, food, etc. They were in shock when this stability was removed and now they had to scramble to support themselves.

    It seems that it took about two generations to kill the ability to take care and be responsible for oneself. The younger generations took advantage of the liberation and started new companies, etc, but not without a lot of corruption.

    • admin September 25, 2018, 12:33 am

      I think you are conflating social welfare with etiquette. I can understand how a Communist regime can create dependency in people but how does it affect the culture of etiquette?

      • Kay_L September 25, 2018, 1:29 pm

        It destroys community and the customs that are preserved and handed down by it.

        • admin September 25, 2018, 3:27 pm

          Aren’t good manners learned from the family particularly parents, and one’s immediate social circles? How can the government destroy centuries of social custom unless it is the government who is teaching those customs in the first place? Am I making sense?

          • Tatdaisie September 25, 2018, 4:39 pm

            It’s not necessarily a direct causal link, nor something that happens automatically. I’m not sure if this is true for China, however for other countries with totalitarian governments what happens is a culture of fear and distrust of others results in a breakdown of social constructs (such as courtesy). People don’t feel the need to be polite to others, because they are seen as a potential threat. Add a few generations to a culture like this and you have a culture where manners aren’t very important, at least when dealing with people of the same social standing.

          • admin September 25, 2018, 4:46 pm

            Good point.

          • admin September 25, 2018, 4:48 pm

            Although wouldn’t excessive politeness potentially defuse distrust? Obvious incivility I would think would create distrust whereas courtesy can be a uniform way to hide what you really think and believe about another person.

          • Livvy17 October 3, 2018, 8:12 am

            I think you’re right that excessive politeness will defuse antagonistic situations, but it’s pretty much useless in a “drive-by” situation such as tourism, where people aren’t really interacting with each other so much as operating independently in a shared space. Being polite may mean you lose out – which is what the parents are probably teaching their kids. If you live in a world where being polite results in reduced circumstances, and there’s no shame or other consequence for a lack of politeness, it’s a liability, not a virtue. The same can be said of ethics, morals.

  • Aprobe September 24, 2018, 1:53 pm

    This is kind of fascinating. I mean I have had some interesting experiences with many tourists abroad, but sometimes the worst experiences were honestly with other Americans.
    I really appreciate your content is from Chinese sources which make it easier to view and consider… I think I still view Chinese culture through the vet proper lense of honor based and somehow have the association that that means perfect manners.
    Since it is such a large population I would like to believe that this doesn’t speak of the entire country but it must at least be significant enough if it’s drawing so much attention.

  • Nicole September 24, 2018, 1:56 pm

    This has been identified as a problem by the Chinese government so it is not racism to address it directly. My brother in law was working in China from some years, my husband was in Japan for many years and they both speak Mandarin but are german looking mid west boys so they had a rather inside/outside view of it. They helped me understand it by explaining that the Chinese have a cultural history of destroying historic sites because they have so much rich history and restarts so they often don’t set the same value on ruins that other cultures do. Furthermore, until recently there was not a lot of money in the middle class to go travelling and there hasn’t been a lot of global media allowed in. The isolationist policies and nationalist education means the new Chinese middle class tourist quite simply doesn’t understand that their behavior is not normal outside of China. The videos are super important to help them understand because they tend to travel in tour groups that create an echo chamber effect of sheltering them from the other cultures. They don’t mean harm, but they literally don’t know any better.

  • Lisa September 24, 2018, 2:44 pm

    Firsthand knowledge here of Chinese tourists in recent trips to four different countries. Absolutely obnoxious and definitely the worst behavior by far.

  • Kirsten September 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

    Traditional Chinese culture placed great emphasis on etiquette, politeness and not giving offence. The cultural revolution did its best to sweep all that away as bourgeois frippery. So yes, the cultural revolution did affect an entire nation’s behaviour and cultural norms, but like everything in this world, it’s more complicated than that.

    • admin September 25, 2018, 12:28 am

      It’s rather interesting to ponder the ramifications if a similar “revolution” were to happen in a Western country. If there is a cultural battle underway in which etiquette, courtesy and common sense are tarred as elitist, would we collectively degrade in our behavior in order to not appear to be in cahoots with the evil elites? I think sometimes certain wedding etiquette faux pas have become more established as the norm because it is viewed as a rejection of what is considered to be elitist (prissy) etiquette.

      • Kay_L September 25, 2018, 1:39 pm

        It’s already happening. There is whole “culture” of scolds who seek to tell us what we may say, what we must say…

        It’s most pronounced on college campuses and has been for years now. It’s now making its way into social media with active censorship of “wrong think.”

        It’s the same malignant ideology that destroyed Chinese culture, is presently destroying Venezuela, and has seriously compromised all of Europe.

        • Kirsten September 26, 2018, 12:40 pm

          Objecting to racism, sexism etc is not the same as decapitating a pet hamster because it’s bourgeois, sending people to labour camps, or defaecating in the street.

          • Kay_L September 26, 2018, 10:50 pm

            Characterizing something as something it is not is a hallmark of Marxism. “Oh, it’s just objecting to racism or sexism.”

            No, it’s not. It’s shutting down ideas that you don’t like by calling them racist or sexist. Just because you don’t have the power to put people in camps doesn’t mean that’s not where that kind of thing leads.

            It all comes from the same source. And it obliterates cultures. Heck, it obliterates people! If it doesn’t kill them outright, it kills their spirit.

          • EchoGirl September 27, 2018, 12:07 am

            There’s also a culture (at least that I’ve seen) of defining what’s “reasonable” to be offended at based on one’s own sensibilities. It’s both amusing and infuriating when the same people who scream on and on about “offense culture” then turn around and pitch a fit because someone said “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas”.

            Asking people to mind their language is not exactly a new phenomenon either. It’s just that the specific things that are being called out are things that have flown under the radar or even been considered acceptable until recently.

        • Emma September 26, 2018, 6:00 pm

          Well, yes, those are the caveats that come with free speech. Namely, that establishments (such as colleges and universities) are free to set rules regarding what they will tolerate on their premise, that your right to free speech ends where another persons rights begin (to safety, etc), and that while the government can’t tell you to shut up, other people certainly can, on account of their own free speech.

          Actually, rereading admins comment, Kay, most of those “scolders” are actually pushing for an increase in etiquette and courtesy. It just happens that that is synonymous with an intolerance for racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia/etc

          • Kay_L September 27, 2018, 2:04 pm

            There are no caveats to free speech.

            And most colleges and universities are public entities and have no more right to shut down free speech than the federal government itself.

            “your right to free speech ends where another persons rights begin (to safety, etc),”

            That’s not true at all. It’s not speech that is regulated but behavior. Issuing threats is against the law. Slander and libel carry civil penalties.

            But, calling someone a name, or uttering a slur is protected speech. Talking about a group of people in a certain way is also protected speech.

            “are actually pushing for an increase in etiquette and courtesy. ”

            No, they’re not. They’re pushing an agenda that seeks to control the speech, debate, and free expression of others. That they claim to do it on the basis of compassion doesn’t make it any less threatening or dangerous.

            “while the government can’t tell you to shut up, other people certainly can, on account of their own free speech”

            But they’re not saying “shut up.” They disrupt speakers. They riot. They physically attack and prevent people from gathering. That is not free speech. That IS violence.

            And my point is that it is coming from the same source that formed the basis for the governments of China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela…

          • Emma September 29, 2018, 11:00 am

            I’m going to admit to being confused, Kay. You say there’s no caveats, but you list caveats in your reply. Issuing threats verbally is speech, spoken slander and libel are speech. And they are forms of speech that the government can punish you for. Speech and behaviour are not two separate entities. And maybe this is different in the states, but here in Canada we do have laws regarding hate speech. As well, the first thing you learn about free speech in a law class is that it is subject to “reasonable limitations”. Again, maybe not so in the States, but I can assure you, Canada hasn’t fallen apart since these laws were put in place.

            Colleges and universities are workplaces, for the staff, and paid services for the students. A workplace does, typically, control your speech to some extent. If you swear at every customer in a retail job, you will likely be fired. If a customer is verbally harassing staff or other customers, they can be asked to leave. Note that neither of these examples means that you cannot speak freely, just that you can face consequences for it.

            You’re right, a lot of people do interrupt, or riot, or prevent people from gathering (none of these are inherently violent acts, except maybe riots, and there is a lot to be said about how opposers of a peaceful protest can turn a protest into a riot in order to ruin public perception of the event,), and even a select few use violence (although my main memory of this would be Richard Spencer getting punched, and I feel little sympathy for a white supremacist, to be honest). However to say that that is the majority is like claiming that all republicans are also alt-right. You cannot look at the loudest, most reported on members of a group and assume that they make up the majority. It does a disservice not only to the group, but also to your understanding of it.

            Many people want to see slurs fall out of the lexicon because so many of us have trauma associated with them, because we know the attitudes that come with them, the damage they cause. Others want to see these words fall out of use because they have basic compassion for other people. To compare these people, many of whom have never done anything more extreme than tell a friend to stop using a slur, to corrupt governments is a terrible equivalence.

            My apologies for how long this turned out to be, it’s a subject I care about quite a bit!

        • Livvy17 October 3, 2018, 10:58 am

          In my opinion, etiquette is about behaving in such a way to provide comfort, dignity and lack of embarrassment, both to oneself and to others. It’s about being accommodating when it’s within one’s ability to do so, within reason. It’s about operating by rules to avoid offending people – what we normally define as polite. The “scolds” as you call them, seek to let you know what they personally find offensive, so that you might avoid inadvertently causing offense. However, you are perfectly within your rights to say what you wish, and cause them offense. No one has censored you, they’ve simply indicated that they will take offense, and may say things that offend you back. You are free to be as inconsiderate or considerate as you like, legally, but like anything else you say in this life, there may be consequences. For example, I find most tattoos really ugly, but I generally don’t express that opinion in public, as I know lots of people have them, find them beautiful, and would be personally offended by my statement. It’s my choice to make whether I’d like to express myself fully, and possibly face consequences, or to keep my mouth shut, and not.

  • JD September 24, 2018, 3:12 pm

    Oh, my.
    I always enjoyed Mark Twain’s humorous but sometimes biting criticism of other American tourists, from when he toured in “Innocents Abroad.” Of course, he remembered to criticize himself, too.

  • Noemie September 24, 2018, 3:26 pm

    I also noticed people from Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysian Chinese etc… are so much nicer, more polite and civilized than people from mainland China.

  • rindlrad September 24, 2018, 6:23 pm

    When cultures meet there is going to be some friction. As mentioned above, Chinese citizens are fairly new to World Travel and will make some mistakes. It’s also true that some things that may be the norm in their home country (pushing others out of the way, public urination / defecation, cutting in line, not picking up trash, not observing others’ personal space, etc.) will be things they learn not to do when they are visiting in other countries where those things may not be acceptable. When others travel to foreign countries, they learn the “Do’s and Dont’s.” Most Chinese will learn to do the same. I say “most,” because every nationality has a few people that give the rest a bad name.

    Is it the Cultural Revolution’s fault? I don’t know. I think if the government allows / does not allow things like urination / defecation in public and leaving your trash all over to occur, that can lead to cultural norms changing. For example, the highways in the US used to be lined with trash in the 1970s when I was a kid. It became the cultural norm that people pick up their own trash (big fines for not properly disposing of your trash) and today highways, parks, etc., are much cleaner. Other things like the shoving and personal space seem to change from culture to culture (e.g., Americans, in general, like a little more personal space). The cutting in line thing is human nature – seems to happen everywhere. Does anyone know – is it the norm in China to confront someone cutting in line or do people just let it go? If there are no consequences associated with line cutting (shame, morality, thrown out of the Park, etc.), I can see where more people would routinely do it.

  • LizaJane September 24, 2018, 6:55 pm

    Two truths about stereotypes:

    1) They’re never true about everyone being typed.

    2) There’s usually a reason for the stereotype.

  • Not a robot September 24, 2018, 6:58 pm

    Oh my….this type of behavior is not just specific to
    Chinese tourists. It has also been associated with American tourists as well. The difference is on how each country has handled the issue. The US government is founded on individualism and will not create something like this. Asian cultures on the other hand is collectivistic in nature and the expectations are different. Citizens are expected to be on their best behavior. Additionally the Chinese government has a different operating philosophy that for most of us, cannot understand. Was the behavior concerning? Yes, but I would be careful of saying that because the government made a video it shows how rude and boorish they are

    • Kovi September 27, 2018, 10:29 am

      American tourists are not angels, but there’s behavior in the videos that not even American tourists usually engage in. You NEVER see American tourists urinating or pooping on the ground… Meanwhile, there are signs IN CHINA to try and discourage this. Americans also have some concept of personal space, while in China there isn’t, really. I’ve been to plenty of American theme parks, including Disney and Universal Studios, and I was never as crammed in with other people like the 3rd video shows. I’ve also never seen people sitting on the ground in such massive amounts, blocking everyone else from getting through (when this does happen, notifying security or someone else in charge will usually always fix the problem).

      Point is, you can see one or two behaviors similar to those described above in American tourists, but not in such enormous amounts.

  • Ergala September 24, 2018, 7:14 pm

    So the last two months for some odd reason we have had an influx of issues with people parking directly in front of our driveway and mailbox. I live on a blind hill that is also on a corner. You literally cannot tell if someone is parked there until you are almost colliding with them. My mail box is a few feet up the road past my driveway to give the mail carrier more room to park without blocking traffic.
    First instance were bikers and about 5 or 6 parked blocking my driveway and mailbox. I watched them literally stop on the side of the road and get off their bikes to smoke cigarettes and put them out on the fire hydrant and marker for it in my yard. They stood on my front lawn just milling around chatting. Not only was THAT annoying but they created a major hazard. Any car coming up would not be able to see them in time and would have plowed into them. People speed up this hill too. I finally got unnerved enough and my fiance went outside to talk to them. Turns out they were french. He tried to explain that up the road is actually a great pull off at the base of the mountain and totally off the road and safe. They left without an issue but I was still amazed that they thought blocking a driveway and mail box was okay.
    Second instance I was doing dishes and saw a car park blocking part of my driveway and making it impossible for the mail carrier to pull up to my mail box if they arrived right then. I watched as this person turned off their car and just parked there. Once again my fiance went out to see what was up and this person spoke Spanish. They were eating their lunch. They stopped and blocked my driveway and mailbox to eat lunch…on a blind hill.
    I live in an area where foliage is a huge tourist attraction and we are all holding our breath. Usually it is people from Asian cultures that stop in the middle of the road, get out of their cars and take photos of scenery in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD….and pose for group photos. I was on the interstate and saw some taking photos in front of the Welcome to sign. You don’t do that here. The wind is pretty strong at times and tractor trailers tend to get blown around a good bit. It is like all common sense goes out the window. There was one year I had leaf peepers standing in my front yard to take photos of a neighbor’s tree. They had parked in my driveway blocking my garage. I watched as they set their water bottles down on my pathway to take photos and leave them there. Or the year I came out and saw someone had stuck beer cans on all the branches of one of my flowering bushes that lines the road.
    I will admit that I kind of laughed when I realized someone had been shooting hoops in the middle of the night in my driveway using our basketball hoop. Kind of weird but whatever.

    • MusicWithRocksInIt September 25, 2018, 7:23 am

      The way people loose their heads on vacation. When I was in Paris and visited the Arc de Triomphe I was astonished at how dump people were being. The Arc is surrounded by a five lane traffic circle, no crosswalks of any kind going to the Arc. There are tunnels under the street that will let you get to the Arc, which are fairly well labeled if you bother to look around for them. But the number of people that just decided to make a run through five lanes of traffic astonished me. Come on people! This is a tourist attraction! There is an official, safe way to get here! Think for a minute!

      • Ergala September 25, 2018, 11:39 am

        I was at my fiance’s home state with him last month and we watched a woman cross traffic on foot. This is a small city and they have numerous pedestrian fatalities a year because of this. So to combat that there are a ton of cross walks with lights. There was a cross walk with light 10 feet up the road from where she crossed. And the kicker…she was going the direction of the cross walk. It came out at the road she was going to. Normally I would shake my head saying “tourists” however she had on the uniform of the fast food place we were on front of. She was a freaking local and still pulled that stunt.
        One of our issues are out of state bikers. Three days ago I sat at a 4 way stop here in my little town and watched as 15 bikers blew through the stop sign. There were cars waiting in every direction and these yahoos blew through the sign. If they had hit a car that decided to take their right away the biker would have been at fault. Or the people who don’t understand how 4 ways work. Usually tourists. They see the car in front of them stop and go. And as the next car that is next goes to turn the visitor will already be turning cutting that car off. Then they lay on their horn flipping you off. One day I rolled down my window and yelled at them to read a driving manual before they tried driving again. If they hadn’t of flipped me off when I tapped my horn I wouldn’t have said a word. We have a ton of editorials in our paper about these people.

  • Lanes September 24, 2018, 7:24 pm

    My company has a factory in China, as well as several suppliers there. I’ve visited as part of my job.
    I didn’t find people overly rude in public, apart from a little staring (a redhead is a novelty in China!).

    What I did struggle with is hygiene. Chopsticks that have been in someones mouth go into the communal food in the middle of the table, and back into their mouth. I’m not keen on their ‘squat’ style of toilet, but they believe our ‘sit’ style is unhygienic and I can understand that. In general people didn’t seem to wash their hands very often, and let’s just say dental hygiene is not high on the priority list either. Food is left out in the open, and you basically don’t use tap water for drinking/brushing teeth unless they specify that it’s treated.

    I do fully understand the lack of personal space, though. They have SO many people packed into their cities. I remember watching a public bus at around rush-hour, and they were literally shoving people in like they were clothes in an overloaded suitcase so they could close the doors and take off. So, a few inches of space to them is a couple of feet to us.

    In regards to the decline in ‘traditional values’ though, I think that’s a phenomenon everywhere. Back in our grandparent’s days you would call everyone sir, ma’am, or Mr/Mrs Lastname, however now it’s commonplace to call your elders by their firstname. Men and women can share a residence and/or be friends without anybody batting an eyelid, and LGBQT communities are slowly becoming accepted by the majority of society.

    Perhaps China’s change has been too sudden, to catch up with the rest of the world, and they’re struggling with where to draw the line? I think the best thing we can do is what the 2nd video said – where we see unacceptable behaviour, let them know it’s not okay.

  • Lauren September 24, 2018, 8:08 pm

    A tour group I was in was run over by a large group of Chinese tourists at the Summer Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. They were passing through a room we were standing in, and they plowed right through our group, knocking several people out of the way and leaving a wake of food wrappers and other miscellaneous trash in their wake. It was amazing. Thankfully, my group was fine – no one was actually trampled-and everyone had a good sense of humor about it. (Admission time: we were making fun of them for the rest of the trip – nothing unifies a tour group more than being treated badly by another tour group.)

    But seriously, being in a foreign country (American visiting Russia for the first time) I was trying to be mindful of my own behavior and not do anything considered rude by the wonderful Russians we encountered. I tend to try to blend in when I travel (I’m sure mostly unsuccessfully) and I have a heightened sense of awareness of other people’s behavior because I am in a place I am unfamiliar with and because I am being so hyper-vigilant about my own behavior. The Chinese tourists that we (literally) ran into had a much different mindset. It was fascinating (and somewhat bruising) to see their behavior which so clearly illustrated how different our origins and cultures were.

    To answer your question, YES, I think a culture will affect the entire country’s behavior in the near future. As China becomes more and more open, and as they interact more and more with other people, their culture will shift to blend in, and their behavior will follow.

    In the mean time, I am going to try to remember the thousands of polite Chinese tourists I’ve encountered over the years, and hopefully I’ll get to visit China itself soon. I’m sure someone in the country will have an issue about something rude I will inadvertently do.

  • Ange September 24, 2018, 9:59 pm

    Ok but that last guy was pointing out a lot of things that aren’t an issue in China. Women in particular use the umbrellas to protect their skin from the sun, it’s a holdover from the old days where the lighter your skin the more beautiful you were considered. The smoking I’m not sure but I’d be surprised if it was banned. People are sitting inside to get out of the weather? How is that an issue? I definitely agree lots of tourists can have lots of unsavoury habits and there were plenty of rude behaviours in the videos but they’re not effective criticisms if they’re lacking cultural understanding.

    While they might be Chinese nationals if they’re sitting there chatting away with an American accent and they don’t even understand the basic things I know about as a caucasian in Australia I’m going to assume they’re a little bit removed from the people they’re talking about.

    • LovleAnjel September 25, 2018, 10:31 am

      Honesty many of the things mentioned also happen in the American parks – children relieving themselves in shrubbery, people climbing over fences to off-limits areas, graffiti, leaving trash in weird places (including full diapers).

      • admin September 25, 2018, 3:38 pm

        The tourists who engage the wild animals in national parks are the ones who amaze me. Some seem determined to be eliminated from the gene pool.

        But I do want to point out that in the US, defecating or urinating in public, graffiti vandalism, trespassing into restricted areas and strewing trash are misdemeanor crimes that can result in tickets and fines. In the second video one of the host was asking if there could be an “etiquette police” who could ticket rude tourists.

    • Kovi September 27, 2018, 10:32 am

      The old days of pale = beauty were a Western thing, too. Something we managed to shake off. I get not wanting to burn, obviously, but there are better solutions than to take up a ton of additional space and block sight lines for everyone else.

      • Ange September 27, 2018, 7:06 pm

        Whatever the point is, the guy making the video was coming at it like it was some strange, silly thing as it wasn’t even raining! Well obviously, and that’s not what the umbrellas were for. If he was at all knowledgeable about Chinese culture he would have understood.

        • keloe October 1, 2018, 5:53 am

          A little over a hundred years ago no self-respecting Western upper-class woman would go out in the sun without a parasol (and also with a hat and gloves on, in a dress covering her from chin to toes and wrists, and maybe adding a veil too). Suntan was for lower classes.

  • Skaramouche September 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

    Here is a fun read on this topic: https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/travel/article/2102308/who-are-worlds-worst-tourists-six-nations-stand-out
    Not to be taken too seriously… 🙂

    Yes, Chinese tourists are absolutely terrible. Given the large population of the country, there are many of them running around wreaking havoc. Then again, many other countries also have residents who make terrible tourists. And not all Chinese are the unmannerly, wreaking-havoc kind. Guess we all have our idiosyncrasies…

    On a more serious note, I couldn’t agree more with one line from the first video – “If moral standards can’t be restored, no matter how many rules are created, it still won’t work.”

  • Iris September 25, 2018, 1:14 am

    I was fortunate enough to travel around New Zealand a few years ago. It coincided with a large cultural celebration (I forget what it was) from China and there were many, many Chinese tourists travelling as part of the celebration. We were told at the time that it was the largest influx of tourists from that nation ever.

    I genuinely didn’t experience any problems. There were a few idiosyncrasies, such as a number of ladies who wore heels and carried umbrellas *everywhere*. But aside from marvelling at the ankle strength of women who could wear heels on rugged paths up to glaciers and remain upright I wasn’t fazed. The only bad manners I noticed on that occasion was the western ‘gentleman’ who just would not stop audibly commenting on their footwear choice as if it was in any way his business.

  • EyestotheSky September 25, 2018, 5:11 am

    Japanese tourists are always so polite! I remember running into a mother and daughter travelling, and they asked me a basic question (where the nearest Starbucks was). I answered them, and then offered to draw a small map for them, only to notice the notebook had a list of maybe 15 questions. They were only asking each person 1 question so not to bother them. The questions were a mix of directions and recommendations that took me about 5 minutes to talk them through and write down, and then took them to the right bus stop (about 50 metres away). I was thanked very profusely for welcoming them to the city and giving up my time.

    Chinese tourists can be overwhelming and quite aggressive, in my personal experience – I took a photo for another couple during a flower show who were struggling to get the shot as a selfie, and immediately had a group of Chinese tourists insist that I take their photos in several different couple and group arrangements with about 4 different phones. They were very pushy and did not thank me at all, and the tour guide told me I should not hold up their tour like that. I laughed it off, because it was just so ridiculous and I always assumed that the language/cultural barrier was just too high that day.

    • Vrinda September 27, 2018, 4:38 pm

      I would have told off that tour guide. “How am I holding up your tour when they asked me to take their photos? Go blame your tourists, not me.”

  • Lolkay September 25, 2018, 9:22 am

    I see why people are concerned about judging a whole nation, and they are initially right.

    However, even among other Chinese speaking folks, mainland people get a bad rap. (Singaporeans, Malaysians, and Taiwanese industries have complained about the mainland tourists and issues.)

    I couldn’t watch the video yet, but someone I know, who is Chinese, remarked that it’s because the city folks have become ‘wealthier’ so quickly and seem to have a feeling they can do whatever they want, and bring that mentality when they travel abroad.

    In Japan, it is true. Chinese tourism is booming, and I had issues with some when I was there, as well as the tourists who come here to California.
    However, I also see more mainland folks speaking out against this attitude so there is some reprieve.

    I studied some Chinese and found people got along with me better when they realized a non-Chinese person could understand and possibly call them on their stuff, so maybe that helps with the overly arrogant folks.

  • Dyan September 25, 2018, 10:58 am

    I live in a huge Canadian city that has many Hong Kong people and mainland China people, and YOU can tell right away who is who…even the Hong Kong people I work with and are friends with say stuff about Mainland people they are very different …

  • staceyizme September 25, 2018, 11:17 am

    I don’t think that it can be reasonable to criticize a people whose sense of agency has been so compromised. Think about it- in a culture where the state has the absolute ability to control every aspect of life down to the recently implemented social credit score, how can people be expected to behave as a free and dignified collective? (Or individuals?) There is an element of scarcity built into the system that produces a nihilistic basis to one’s worldview. If efforts aren’t rewarded consistently, and personal agency can be removed in unpredictable ways and for spurious reasons, people are in survival situations. Even consumerism won’t save the situation because it becomes another case of “better get it while I can, because who knows how long the opportunity will be available…” (Or when it might suddenly be yanked. You have a traumatized culture and the state is the bully. Rules don’t help people to behave, relationship creates the social and emotional centers of gravity that cause an awareness of others and propagate socially beneficial altruism. You won’t see it as the norm in China (or Russia), I think.

    • Kay_L September 25, 2018, 1:47 pm

      Great comment!

      • Jessica Busch Sipos September 26, 2018, 10:36 am

        Yes, absolutely! Just because it’s Culture or culture, doesn’t mean it’s adaptive, or even that the people living it, LIKE it that way!

  • SS September 25, 2018, 12:28 pm

    I flew on Air China from the US to Beijing (for a layover to continue on to another country). That was the most disgusting flight I’ve ever been on. 9 hours of many different people throwing up in the airsickness bags throughout the flight even though it was a very smooth flight. The pair of people sitting across the aisle from me binged on Doritos and junk food for several hours before they started their throwing-up session. Also, on the next leg of my Air China flight, someone smoked a cigarette in the airplane bathroom. For the entire 2 hour flight, every time someone flushed, the whole plan filled with thick cigarette smoke. I overheard one of the stewardesses say that they think something was on fire in the waste system after the cigarette was flushed.

    • admin September 25, 2018, 3:32 pm

      People cannot help becoming airsick and vomiting. Nor is eating a copious amount of snack food that later is rejected by the stomach. It would be rude to turn and vomit on the passenger next to you however.

      • Stephenie S Labovitz September 25, 2018, 4:14 pm

        However, I’ve never had over a dozen different passengers get vomiting sick in a smooth airplane before and never have since then.

        • keloe September 26, 2018, 9:06 am

          I have never experienced it either, but even if I did, I would not assume this is a sign of rudeness and people would refrain from doing it if they had better etiquette.

          In fact, on my last long-haul flight, people were vomiting all around me (I wasn’t). I was blaming it on turbulences – should I blame their bad manners instead? None of them were Chinese, though.

    • Ergala September 27, 2018, 7:21 am

      I get air sick not from turbulence but from the smoothness of the flight. My body can feel we are moving fast but there isn’t any shaking to confirm that fact….not sure if that makes sense. I get less air sick on turbulent flights than I do on smooth flights. Some of those people may not have ever flown and didn’t know about air sickness. You can’t blame them for getting sick. I was on a flight to Texas with my two boys this past March and the seatbelt sign was on the entire 5 hour nonstop flight due to turbulence. The flight was full of Arabic and Asian families. They had to keep getting up to take small children to the bathroom and every single time a stewardess would come on the speaker and remind people to not get out of their seats until the light was out. People grumbled about the families getting up but come on….3 hours in and the kids having snacks and drinks they are going to have to use the bathroom. Would they rather smell urine and feces after one has an accident??

      • SadieMae September 27, 2018, 10:48 pm

        Yes, as a person who easily gets airsick, I would say that surely no one, from any ethnic background, wants to be airsick or doesn’t mind it! I always take my ginger pills and Dramamine, look out the window at the horizon instead of trying to read, etc. All this I learned from really uncomfortable earlier flights. I’m guessing maybe these folks just aren’t seasoned air travelers and didn’t yet know how to prevent/assuage motion sickness.

  • SS September 25, 2018, 12:31 pm

    I forgot to mention in my previous comment that my flight back was on Air Nippon (Japanese airline). That was the best flight I have ever had. A giant nutritious meal with real silverware and beautiful food, and all of the staff and the fellow passengers were so polite and friendly. I have never had such a wonderful experience on an airplane, despite being stuck in the plane for a 10-hour flight.

    • jessiebird September 26, 2018, 10:42 am

      Japan has spent the last 150 or more years trying very hard to separate itself in the eyes of the world from its Asian neighbors. It didn’t want to be colonized, on the one hand, and on the other, wanted to be regarded as “civilized” (partly to avoid colonization). So it has studied and reified Western notions of civility and comportment, which is part of the reason it gives such a good impression as a nation.

      I’ve spent many years in Japan and my husband and I are nipponologists, so we can say that this comportment is a veneer over its older, more local and indigenous traditions. Society and culture are complicated, contested and always changing.

      But for a Western person living in this moment of history, Japan is a pleasant place to visit and Japanese are pleasant people. (However, my husband speaks native-level Japanese and this proficiency makes life a lot harder, ironically.)

      Books can be written….

  • MPW1971 September 25, 2018, 12:52 pm

    Western visitors to China will tell you that what these tourists do abroad, is much worse in China. There’s a general lack of regard for personal space – people push and cut in line all the time, but they also toss garbage, spit, blow their nose, urinate and even defecate in public. It is not unheard of for toddlers to simply squat and go in public – even indoors. (At first I was going to say “it’s perfectly normal” but that’s neither true, nor is it even common, but in some places, this is the way things go.)
    Let me assure the readers here that the spitting and such, not to mention the tossing of garbage and cutting in line, is something that I haven’t found anywhere else – at least not in public. The closest I encountered was people peeing in an open sewer trough in Peru, but that was a literal shantytown up at high altitude, hundreds of miles away from what would pass as civilization. Sure you may encounter someone who is rude, overly loud, or otherwise grating, but I’ve not heard of any other ethnicity of tourists involved in open defecation while outside their home country.

    • Catherine St. Clair September 26, 2018, 3:21 pm

      I worked with an American woman in Miami, Florida, who did not want to potty train her son. He learned to remove his diaper and to simply relieve himself wherever he happened to be. She was furious that people stopped inviting her and her son to their homes because he would defecate on the floor. She felt that, since she would clean it up, they were rude to complain. She brought him to school one day and I happened to meet them in the office next to a restroom. He had to sneeze and did so into his hand, walked up to me, and wiped the contents of his hand down my clothing. He was four years old and I know a four year old can be taught to use a tissue. She said nothing to either of us.

      • staceyizme September 26, 2018, 9:15 pm

        I truly feel pity for that child and for the mother, who needs an evaluation (forgive me for being blunt) by a good mental health professional. I can think of no other reason for allowing her son to act out so badly against his own interests socially and relationally and I can only hope that she came to a place where the lie she told herself (that the world essentially owed her some duty of conformity with respect to her views) toppled over spectacularly and allowed the light of some “home truths” and the fresh air of some unbiased perspective into her very awful way of framing the world. How sad! (And how many kids are subjected to similar mismanagement in the name of whatever dysfunction that their parent declines to resolve? Tragic.)

  • BagLady September 25, 2018, 10:27 pm

    Vomiting isn’t rude. It’s unpleasant — as much for the vomitor as for those witnessing it — but it’s an involuntary bodily reaction. And it’s more likely to happen to someone who isn’t used to being on a plane or a boat. I’ve been on boats where seasickness hit lots of passengers, but not a single crew member, because the latter are used to the motion, or have taken precautions against getting sick, or both.

    Given that many mainland Chinese are new to world travel and unused to flying, it’s to be expected that many will have this unfortunate physical reaction to being on a flight — even a smooth one that is unlikely to upset a seasoned traveler’s stomach.

    That said, of course there are a lot of rude Chinese tourists. There are also a lot of rude American tourists. (There’s a reason for the phrase “Ugly American.”) And rude (insert country here) tourists. The rude ones get noticed and have “Here’s how to not be obnoxious when traveling” videos and articles made for or about them. The polite ones don’t.

    • MzLiz September 27, 2018, 1:37 am

      I’ve flown since I was a child & am very accustomed to air-travel. I vomited for the first – and hopefully only – time on a flight a few years ago because of what I suspect was some bad seafood (from an expensive, high-end restaurant, which makes it even worse; a hundred bucks to get food poisoning. SMH…). It was humiliating but I felt worse for the other passengers, tbh. All I could think about was these poor people stuck sitting there while I emptied my stomach (and unfortunately, I’m not a ‘graceful’ vomiter. I tried to be as quiet as possible but, yeah…I bet the people we were flying over could hear me). However it came on so suddenly that I knew I wouldn’t make it to the bathroom – I barely got the bag out of the seat-pocket in time.

      But besides that – it’s actually scary. I didn’t know that until I experienced it. It’s hard to catch your breath when you vomit but with the cabin pressure, it’s extra difficult & at one point I felt like I couldn’t breathe, which makes you feel panicked, which exacerbates the problem; being in a tight space like an plane seat doesn’t help either. So to think anybody would put themselves through that voluntarily, either by gorging on food in order to throw it back up or just for ‘funsies’ is insane to me. Sympathetic vomiting is a real & fairly common thing. Could’ve been a domino effect that occurred on that above poster’s flight.

      (Btw, my fellow passengers were really nice. I apologized once I could talk & they were super-cool. The flight attendants were awesome too. They held off beverage service when I could finally go to the bathroom, moved me & my husband to an empty row of seats so I could lie down & offered him free drinks. I wrote the airline an email when I got home to let them know how impressive their staff was cos I was so grateful for their caring attitude.)

  • CMK121212 September 26, 2018, 7:45 am

    I guess where I struggle (watching the first video) was the word “worst” because it kind of insinuates they do this because they’re uncouth barbarians who march around violating cultural norms like they’re trying to corner the market on the “Rude American” stereotype. If Chinese tourists are acting in ways others consider to be completely unacceptable because it’s not something considered rude in their daily lives, then educating them is the right approach.

    I haven’t been to the Middle East but travel guides all say “don’t touch food with your left hand.” Let’s say I go but didn’t do my homework and I’m grabbing food from shared dishes with the wrong hand. I would hope someone would say “hey, not cool here” so I could learn not to keep doing that versus just gritting their teeth and then telling everyone Americans are the worst/rudest/dirtiest, etc.

    • keloe September 26, 2018, 3:47 pm

      Also, such things as personal space, privacy and modesty are not universal. I mean, they exist in every culture, but they are defined by each culture separately. What is a perfectly acceptable behaviour in one country, can be a gross violation of personal space in another (and they don’t have to be on the opposite sides of the globe, either).

  • Julie September 27, 2018, 10:15 am

    I spent my childhood in China but now live in the U.S. I will say that some things that Chinese people do could be considered rude by Westerners. Although, I recall traveling back to China after not living there for 5 years and some of the general behavior was pretty outrageous. People scream and shout at you even though they could have just spoken up politely. Asking a desk worker at a train station for train information (yes, it’s her job to answer questions) basically resulted in that person not even looking up from her book. Some store employees can be rude too, even though it’s part of their job to respond to the customer. Yes, you could blame the cultural revolution. But dude, that revolution happened nearly five decades ago. Chinese people have had time to learn and make changes. And some people definitely have, and you can tell the difference. Certain Chinese businesses are run with a “Western audience” in mind. Those employees are much more polite and willing to look you in the eye as they speak, as opposed to just staring at you then bark a response back.

  • Kovi September 27, 2018, 10:21 am

    I’ve spent time in China (Shanghai and Beijing), and my mother has spent a lot more time there then I have (she visits for work at least once every year). There was a lot of behavior like this in China, which can really all be attributed to their extreme population. Yelling all the time, having an inefficient sewer system leads to poor bathroom use, etc. Very young children wear bottoms with splits in the crotch, which is intended to help them go to the bathroom quickly. Obviously, this can and will happen in the streets. Close to our hotel in Shanghai, there’s even a very obvious sign that says, “Please do not defecate, indiscriminate.” The point it’s getting across is pretty obvious. The bathrooms always stank horrible. That said, I never found anywhere there to be especially rude. People were always polite to us, or at least indifferent. My mom’s coworker has visited us in the States, and she’s an incredibly polite woman. She is also very educated and works online with many Western people.

    Basically, they’re taking behaviors that aren’t at all abnormal in China, and using them abroad. Which isn’t a good thing, and to the people saying, “Don’t judge all Chinese people!”, I don’t think anyone is saying literally all Chinese people are like this. Obviously they aren’t. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t a problem.

    Also, I would be the first to say it’s not like American tourists are perfect angels, either. We’ve all heard about the youtuber who filmed a suicide victim in Japan, before acting like a twat in public. Before I went to China, I talked extensively to my mom about what behavior there was like, and my entire family was as polite as we could be. Everyone, whether you’re American, Chinese, or anything else, should always try to represent their country to the absolute best of their ability.

  • SadieMae September 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

    I haven’t done a lot of traveling to tourist destinations, so I can’t speak to much of this behavior, but in going to school with and working with Chinese people, I can say many Chinese cultural practices, which aren’t in and of themselves rude, can very much come across as rude to an American. The Chinese people I’ve known tend to stand and sit much closer than I’m comfortable with, talk more loudly and bluntly, and stare at and even touch strangers. (My sister, who is very tall and has very blonde hair, went to China once and a lot of people stared and pointed at her and crowded around her to touch her hair and even her prominent nose.) All these things, though, I can see as benign cultural differences.

    But…pooping on the sidewalk when you don’t have to? Shoving people out of the way? Throwing random trash everywhere when there are trash cans available? It’s hard to see those as cultural differences in the same way. Surely Chinese people don’t want to wade through trash and excrement and be shoved around any more than non-Chinese would. So why isn’t there widespread social disapproval of these behaviors both there and abroad? It kind of boggles my mind.

  • Marozia October 1, 2018, 7:23 pm

    My daughter was pregnant and riding on the train to work. She works in the Perth CBD and at one stop a group of Chinese tourists got on, saw her rather large belly, rushed over to her and started touching her belly. She said loudly “Please don’t touch me” (correct etiquette). They wouldn’t. Some passengers told them to back off and one got the guard (who was Chinese himself). All this time, my daughter is saying stop, please don’t, etc. Guard told them to back off or he’d throw them off the train.
    They couldn’t understand what they did wrong!!
    Luckily the next stop, my daughter got off.

  • Jane October 4, 2018, 7:18 pm

    When my son spent a summer in China I relayed some of his experiences to a co-worker born and raised in China. He was embarrassed about his countrymen and blamed the behavior on the cultural revolution. One of my son’s stories took place on a crowded train while traveling with three classmates. They notice a very pregnant woman standing and the one young man who was fluent in Mandarin offered her his seat. The whole train car stared at them like they had suddenly grown two heads. This is simply not something they see there.

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