The New Chinese Dialectic

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Xinhua News Agency

Our Beijing Bureau colleague Jodi Xu writes:

China’s National Tourism Administration published a list last week of the “most disgusting habits of Chinese tourists.” The list was compiled after an online poll, during which as many as 3 million Chinese visited the webpage and contributed their ideas. The result (with accompanying cartoons) read like this:

1. Spitting and nose blowing in public;

2. Smoking in non-smoking areas; coughing in public without covering their mouths;

3. Cutting in line and pushing past the elderly the handicapped and pregnant women;

4. Speaking loudly on phone in public;

5. Graffiti and other marking of historical sites and public facilities;

6. Throwing things at animals in zoos or feeding animals with unsuitable food;

7. Inappropriate public dress (yes, this does mean pajamas, but also singlets and bare chests)

No great surprises, but it does make for an interesting –and surprisingly frank– self-assessment. Of course, this kind of self-criticism is all too familiar to Chinese, especially the older generation. Chairman Mao started the idea of “Criticism and Self-criticism” at the Communist Party’s 7th National Congress in 1945 and after more than half a century, Chinese have become pretty good at it. There is another familiar phrase in the Communist lexicon, Guanche Luoshi (贯彻落实), which means “to put into practice and carry out.” We’ll have to see whether that one proves quite as popular.