The Chinese government doesn’t just want to present its own best face to tourists; it also wants its tourists to present their best faces to the rest of the world.
This Wednesday the China National Tourism Administration released a 64-page book—complete with illustrations—designed to help its citizens overcome the perception that they may not be the world’s most gracious guests when traveling abroad. This latest public service campaign has turned a few heads in the West mainly because we can’t quite imagine our own government issuing such edicts.
Here are some of the key takeaways from this epic PSA:
- Don’t sneeze or pick your nose or teeth in public
- Keep your nose hair neatly trimmed
- Don’t steal airplane life jackets
- Don’t pee in the pool
- Don’t force locals to take your picture
- Make sure women wear earrings when in Spain lest they “be considered effectively naked”
- Don’t steal any saltwater animals if you go swimming in the ocean
And our favorites:
- Never leave footprints on the toilet (?!)
- Don’t hang your underwear on the hotel lampshade to dry
Why so insistent? You may remember some controversy erupting earlier this year after a Chinese tourist left graffiti on ruins on Egypt (which then went viral on Weibo).
Go ahead and laugh, but the point is that this week is the time when most Chinese professionals take vacations. Members of the public are traveling abroad for business and pleasure more than ever before, and the government is very sensitive as to how they’re perceived. Will this book be enough to change some minds?