Beijing discourages uncouth behavior for Olympics
Updated: 2005-10-28 21:58
In addition to grand concrete venues for the 29th Olympic Games, Beijing is
busy with an immaterial project -- to trim its residents' behavior for the
The time left for possible improvement seems not enough, though there are
still more than two years before the event comes.
A recent survey report showed that booing and even using dirty words by
audiences to show their discontent with the performance of players is one of the
most irritating bad manners that tarnishes the image of the capital.
Beijing audiences are notorious for such impolite expressions of
disappointment and dissatisfaction at sports games.
Other bad habits listed in the report include spitting, littering, violation
of traffic regulations, and jostling passengers on buses.
City managers worry these uncivil behaviors will also bring shame to the
capital or even to the nation if exposed to foreigners in 2008.
The online survey sponsored by the Beijing municipal committee of the Chinese
People's Political Consultative Conference, the Beijing Morning Post and
Sina.com covered more than 10,000 respondents.
Worry of a lack of etiquette topped game organizers' major concerns after the
city was selected as the host of the Games in 2008 by the International Olympic
Committee in 2001.
Some critics warned that to refine residents' manner is more an imminent task
for the city than the construction of event venues.
When the World Snooker China Open was held in Beijing in March this year,
foreign competitors and judges were stunned not only by Chinese dark horse Ding
Junhui's victory over Stephen Hendry but also by some of the audience who took
pictures with their flashlight on or talked loudly on their mobile phones.
Beijing mayor Wang Qishan once said that the most troublesome task for the
city in preparing for the Games is the improvement of its residents' manners.
"I really worry whether the audience will stand up when the national anthem
of another country is played, or whether Chinese athletes will be greeted with
applause if they lose a game," the mayor said.
The city made a three-year plan in the summer to promote among its residents
knowledge of the games and audience etiquette.
More than 200,000 pamphlets were printed to teach residents, who can also
find similar teachings in cartoons, short soap operas and other performances on
stage or on TV.
The education campaign has also expanded to occupational protocols and
Even the use of chopsticks, inherent in Chinese culture, has become part of
the education campaign. There is both art and taboo in the using of the
traditional Chinese table ware, but critics say today's youngsters know little
The city is also working on a research to find measures which can help
improve its residents' manners, said vice mayor Zhang Mao earlier this month.
Some local legislators and netizens proposed imposing severe punishments on
"But it is by no means a day's labor to get rid of all the bad habits of all
the residents who have them," said Jin Yuanpu, a professor of humanities at
Beijing-based People's University of China.
The professor said that Beijing should take the chance of hosting the Olympic
Games to demonstrate the shining part of the tradition of China as a nation with
a long history.
The occasion, however, is no panacea, said Jin. "It will be a long process
for the people to pick up the civility that the ancient nation once boasted."