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Ignorance is no excuse – Chinese tourists are learning how to behave

Taboos for Chinese tourists in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Bhutan (photo from

Two Chinese tourists in Berlin in early August “were arrested after posing for photos while making the Nazi gesture in front of the historic Reichstag building …… German law forbids the use of some symbols affiliated with banned organizations in public, such as gestures, uniforms and flags, including those linked to the Nazis.”

A tour abroad is supposed to be a learning process, and it is always for our own benefit because through which we get to know more about the civilizations of some peoples we did not know enough in the past.

There are norms, taboos, customs and alike everywhere worldwide towards which we must respect. Using ‘freedom of something’ or ‘rights of something’ makes no sense at all.

We expect visitors to respect our traditions and in return we must comply with the host nations’ customs, history and laws.

No one is superior to anyone else in this context. It applies the same principle onto the Chinese tourists, no matter how rich they are.

Ignorance is not an excuse as we have many thousand-year-long similar terms such as 入境問禁 (ask if any prohibitions when entering into a country) and 入鄉隨俗 (observe the customs when entering into a village). There are also many other Chinese etiquettes on how to behave as a guest and a host.

Furthermore, Chinese people are also in need of being alert to the rise of ring-wing thoughts. One of the Right’s distinct features is xenophobia. The Boxer Rebellion 1900 supported by the then Empress Dowager Cixi in the late Qing Dynasty was a painful lesson for the Chinese to learn that xenophobia should have no place in China again.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.


About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).


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