BEIJING (AFP) - The dire manners and "uncivilised behaviour" of some Chinese tourists abroad are harming the country's image, said a top official who lamented their poor "quality and breeding", according to state-run media.
Mr Wang Yang, one of China's four vice premiers, singled out for condemnation "talking loudly in public places, jay-walking, spitting and wilfully carving characters on items in scenic zones".
Such "uncivilised behaviours" were "often criticised by the media and have damaged the image of Chinese people and caused vicious impact", he said, according to the website of the People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece.
China proclaims itself a 5,000-year-old civilisation but at a government meeting Thursday on a new tourism law, Mr Wang said: "The quality and breeding of some tourists are not high yet."
Chinese consumers have become increasingly affluent on the back of its economic boom and foreign holidays are ever more popular, with shopping often a key activity.
Destination countries, including debt-laden European states, have been easing visa restrictions to attract more tourists from China, but reports have also emerged of complaints about etiquette.
"Improving the civilised quality of the citizens and building a good image of Chinese tourists are the obligations of governments at all levels and relevant agencies and companies," said Mr Wang, a former party chief of Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong.
Authorities should "guide tourists to conscientiously abide by public order and social ethics, respect local religious beliefs and customs, mind their speech and behaviour... and protect the environment," he said.
A mainland Chinese mother who asked her son to relieve himself in a bottle in a crowded Hong Kong restaurant sparked an outpouring of online anger in February in the former British colony, where some locals deride mainlanders as "locusts".
Travel authorities in rich eastern province of Jiangsu earlier this year urged travellers to "take less cash, never show off money or valuables" after 23 Chinese visitors were robbed in Paris.