Chinese Gov’t Blacklisting Rude Tourists

Chinese Gov’t Blacklisting Rude TouristsChinese Gov’t Blacklisting Rude Tourists

In a major innovation, the Chinese government has named four tourists to a new blacklist, which could affect their credit ratings and freedom to travel for years, NPR reported.

Travelers Wang Sheng and Zhang Yan earned special recognition for their performance on a Bangkok-to-China flight last December. When they did not immediately get the seats they wanted, they threw hot instant noodles at a stewardess and threatened to blow up the plane. The pilot then made a U-turn and headed back to Bangkok, where police detained the pair.

Another traveler was blacklisted for opening a door on his flight as it was about to take off. Another was photographed climbing on statues of Chinese civil war-era soldiers.

Last year, Chinese tourists took 109 million trips overseas, 20 percent more than in 2013. Many host nations may be inclined to overlook misbehaving Chinese tourists because China now contributes more money to the global tourism industry than any other nation.

The problem of what Chinese officials call “uncivilized tourists” has become “a major issue in our oversight of the tourism industry,” says Li Zhongguang, a researcher at an arm of the China National Tourism Administration.

“Our government has been forced to respond to it.”

About two dozen government departments were involved in drafting the new rules, Li says, including the ruling Communist Party’s “Civilization Office,” which is in charge of ideological affairs.

Li adds that China has had laws on the books for nearly two decades banning bad tourist behavior, and encouraging its opposite, but he says they haven’t had the desired effect.

One of the most embarrassing episodes came two years ago, when a 15-year-old Chinese tourist carved his name on ancient bas reliefs in a temple in Luxor, Egypt.

Some Chinese citizens have questioned whether the new rules are too harsh, or infringe on civil liberties, such as privacy and the right to travel. Li says the concerns are overblown, and the rules will affect very few people.

“Some media have misread these rules as being tougher than they really are, like reporting that folks won’t be able to pick their noses in public,” he says. “These rules are really are only meant to curb the worst excesses.”