‘Keep your nose hairs trimmed’ – Chinese Communist Party issues tourism guide

Official guidebook issued for country’s holidaymakers after spate of ‘embarrassing’ incidents involving Chinese people abroad

Don’t pick your nose, don’t pee in the swimming pool, don’t leave footprints on toilet seats and keep your nose hairs nicely trimmed.

China’s Communist Party has issued an official 64-page guidebook for the country’s holidaymakers after a spate of embarrassing incidents involving the Chinese abroad.

The party used to issue a one-page sheet of advice, but now China's National Tourism Administration has issued an expanded publication called Guidebook to Civilised Tourism before the "Golden Week" public holiday that began on Tuesday. It contains advice including directions not to spit or make loud noises, to use shower curtains in hotel rooms, not to urinate in public pools and stop asking locals to take photographs of their group.

Flyers are recommended not to take life jackets kept underneath aircraft seats because "if a dangerous situation arises then someone else will not have a life jacket." And when in Japan, Chinese tourists should not to fiddle with their clothing or hair during a meal.


Sensible instructions
Some of the advice is quite odd. Alongside sensible instructions not to call black people "Negroes", not to ask for pork in Muslim countries and, em, not to buy rocks as souvenirs in Scotland, are recommendations not to ask a British person whether they have eaten or not.

France and the US are among the most popular destinations for Chinese citizens. Irish tourism authorities are trying to woo the lucrative Chinese market. Last year, mainland Chinese citizens made 83 million trips abroad – eight times more than in 2000.

China is now the world's biggest-spending tourism country, spending €75 billion, more than the US and Germany.

"They make loud noises in public, scratch graffiti on tourist attractions, ignore red lights when crossing the road and spit everywhere," said vice premier Wang Yang, adding that Chinese overseas lacked "quality and breeding".

The advice comes after a teenager carved "Ding Jinhao was here" on to the wall of a 3,500- year-old temple in Luxor, Egypt.

There was also an incident in North Korea where a group fed sweets to local children like "feeding ducks in a park".

Clifford Coonan

Clifford Coonan

Clifford Coonan, an Irish Times contributor, spent 15 years reporting from Beijing