Skip to main content

China instructs its citizens on how to behave abroad

By CNN Staff
May 29, 2013 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • China's government has issued a set of guidelines for tourists
  • Among them: Doodling or carving on ancient relics is not acceptable behavior
  • Regulations are response to recent case of Chinese teenager defacing an Egyptian sculpture

(CNN) -- Spitting. Littering. Cutting in lines. Defacing historic treasures.

These are some of the behaviors the Chinese government is hoping to eradicate with a set of official conventions to be followed by Chinese citizens when traveling.

The guidelines were posted Tuesday on the Chinese central government's website.

According to state news agency Xinhua, the regulations also prohibit climbing on or touching ancient relics or carving into them.

"Being a civilized tourist is the obligation of each citizen," according to the government post, which lays out a long list of guidelines issued by the National Tourism Administration.

The \'Ding was here\' graffiti
The 'Ding was here' graffiti

The call for "civilized" conduct comes in the wake of a firestorm of anger and outrage unleashed in Egypt, China and around the world this week when a 15-year-old Chinese tourist carved his name in Chinese characters into the 3,500-year-old stone at Egypt's Luxor Temple.

The biggest backlash came from within China with netizens exposing and criticizing the teenager.

The netizen reaction shows the incident in Egypt should not be used to generalize the behavior of Chinese travelers, says Mei Zhang, founder and CEO of travel agency WildChina, which handles both inbound and outbound tourists.

"This kind of behavior is difficult to label as bad Chinese tourist behavior because the outreach you've seen on Chinese social media like Sina Weibo is, 'How can this be possible?'" Zhang told CNN.

"It's almost like the behavior of this young man in Egypt is one piece of [Chairman] Mao's dropping that spoils the whole pot of soup. This is what Chinese are saying."

Outrage after Chinese tourist defaces Egyptian temple

The government regulations also call on travelers to follow public orders, protect ecology, public infrastructure and utilities, maintain a clean environment, respect the rights of others and show them courtesy, Xinhua reported. Travelers should also seek appropriate entertainment, according to the guidelines.

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. (See our report on Chinese tourism: The good, the bad and the backlash).

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.

Earlier this month, Beijing called on its nation's tourists to improve their behavior, with Vice Premier Wang Yang stating it was important to project a good image of Chinese tourists.

Chinese travelers the world's biggest spenders

CNN's Hiufu Wong and Marnie Hunter contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0756 GMT (1556 HKT)
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
ADVERTISEMENT