China takes action against citizens who cause trouble while travelling abroad – by documenting their misdeeds in a database of shame.
Misbehaving Chinese tourists may never be able to leave China again once a new initiative by the government is up and running. And knowing how the Chinese loathe “losing face”, it might just work.
At the heart of the government initiative is the establishment of a national database that tracks bad behaviour by Chinese tourists, according to a report by the official Xinhua news agency on Jan 15, citing Li Jinzao, head of the National Tourism Administration system.
Once it's in place, habitual offenders may find it tough to board planes or book hotels, with the data being shared with airlines, hotels and travel agencies. The system will also rank offences by severity, says the report. The system also provides for punishment for unruly tourists, though no specific details are given.
Chinese tourists overtook Americans and Germans as the world’s top-spending travellers in 2013, according to the World Tourism Organisation, but their questionable behaviour has given offence in some countries, making them unwelcome.
In 2013, a Chinese school student scrawled his name on the wall of an ancient temple in Luxor, causing outrage in Egypt. Anger reached boiling point last year in Hong Kong when a mainland couple allowed their two-year-old to defecate on a sidewalk. Only last month, a Chinese woman scalded a flight attendant on a Thai AirAsia flight from Bangkok by throwing hot water at her.
In the past, the Chinese government has tried to mend the country’s image over the antics of its citizens abroad, even issuing a guidebook for “civilised tourism” with instructions to take moderate servings at buffets, and avoid going out bare-chested. Hopefully, the database of shame will put an end to all that.