China to monitor misbehaving Chinese tourists for up to two years

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A new measure has been introduced that is aimed at ending inappropriate behaviour by Chinese tourists.

According to the China National Tourism Administration, such behaviour includes violating order on public transportation (including flights), damaging public facilities or historical relics, ignoring social customs at tourism destinations, and becoming involved with gambling or prostitution.

Records will be kept by the provincial and national tourism authorities for up to two years, starting from the day the misbehaviour was confirmed by the tourism authorities.

If necessary, they will also be handed to public security, customs, frontier inspection, transportation and banking authorities. Tourists are allowed to appeal.

The move follows incidents involving Chinese tourists that triggered controversy.

During the three-day Qing Ming Festival, three Chinese tourists were arrested in Japan for alleged sexual harassment.

Under local law, one of them who allegedly used a mobile phone to take upskirt photos could face one year in prison or a fine of one million yen (S$11,350).

In December, a flight from Bangkok to Nanjing was forced to turn back about 90 minutes after take-off because two Chinese passengers created a disturbance.

Ms Zhang Hui, who works for a multinational company in Shanghai, said misbehaviour by Chinese tourists had blunted her desire to travel.

"I never make trips during public holidays because I can imagine the chaos, the garbage... the commotion in places that should be peaceful, and disturbances caused on trains or flights," she said.

"However, I'm not sure whether this new measure will work, just like no-smoking signs in public areas. And I'm still not clear how the behaviour of Chinese tourists will be supervised worldwide."

Mr Zhang Lingyun, deputy dean of the tourism college at Beijing Union University, has kept a close watch on the issue since the flight from Bangkok had to turn back.

He said he can understand the motivation behind the new measure, but still doubts if it will be effective.

"It will be very difficult to operate. Take obtaining evidence, for example. Behaviour that breaches the law won't be too difficult to define, but cases that involve morals will be," he said.

"Some forms of misbehaviour listed in the new measure are already banned under other laws. For example, historical relics are protected by the Cultural Relics Protection Law.

"I think we don't need another measure in this area. Cases involving morals can only be resolved through education and with proper guidance.

"Personal records should be dealt with carefully without violating personal privacy."