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Beijingers improving manners

Updated: 2007-02-20 10:35

A Beijing sociology professor said that Beijingers have shown improvement in etiquette over the past year.

Sha Lianxiang, sociology professor with the People's University of China, said that there has been a decline in the number of people littering, spitting and flaunting traffic rules.

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A research team of the university conducted a series of surveys between November 2005 and 2006, in which 10,000 local residents and 1,000 foreigners who have lived in Beijing for more than two years were questioned. In addition, it conducted observations on 230,000 people at 320 public venues and 180,000 automobiles at 86 "transport observation spots".

Sha said the "civic index" of Beijing residents scored 69.06 in 2006, 3.85 points higher than 2005. The index takes into account the residents compliance with rules in public health and public order, their attitudes towards strangers, etiquette in watching sports events and willingness to contribute to the Olympic Games.

The survey found that the occurrence rates of littering in public places has dropped from 9.1 percent in 2005 to 5.3 percent in 2006; that of spitting has dropped by from 8.4 percent to 4.9 percent; queue-jumping dropped from 9 percent to 6 percent.

However, Sha said the citizens' "civilized degree" still could not meet the demand of the 2008 Olympics. She expected the index to rise to 72 to 78 during the 2008 Olympic Games.

"The government and citizens still have a lot of things to do to improve their public behavior," Sha said.

Beijing has issued 2.8 million pamphlets about daily etiquette to 4.3 million households and offered etiquette training to all public servants and 870,000 people working in the service sector, such as taxi drivers, waiters and waitresses, and bus conductors.

The city has also established the 11th day of every month as "voluntarily wait in line" day to rid the city of queue-jumping.