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  • Aug 30, 2014
  • Updated: 6:47am

Chinese tourists

China's Vice-Premier Wang Yang in May 2013 acknowledged that "uncivilised behaviour" by its citizens abroad was harming the country's image. He cited "talking loudly in public places, jaywalking, spitting and wilfully carving characters on items in scenic zones". Destination countries have been easing visa restrictions to attract more tourists from China, but reports have emerged of complaints about etiquette.

CommentInsight & Opinion

Urinating on MTR shows more education needed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 05 August, 2013, 8:40am


  • Yes: 25%
  • No: 75%
5 Aug 2013
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 699

Every society has its own standards and norms. But regardless of cultural differences, some behaviour is universally considered uncivilised and should be avoided. Relieving oneself in a public area is a case in point. It is difficult to imagine any civilised society would approve of that, especially when it happens right in front of a crowd.

A girl of about five was seen urinating inside an MTR carriage on Hong Kong Island on Tuesday. Her Putonghua-speaking mother apparently did nothing to stop her, but dabbed the floor with tissues afterwards before alighting with her. Unsurprisingly, passengers were shocked by the scene. The report unleashed a torrent of comment on the internet.

This is not the first time misbehaviour in public premises has made headlines. A video clip showing a couple allowing their child to defecate in a train station went viral in April. That mainlanders were involved has fuelled the misconception that all Chinese nationals relieve themselves wherever they like. It also adds to the long list of unwelcome conduct associated with Chinese tourists. The truth is that these were only isolated incidents. The train incident, if it had happened on the mainland, would provoke equally.

This is not to suggest relieving oneself in public is nothing unusual and should be tolerated. It is uncivilised, illegal and unacceptable. But it would be wrong to stereotype all mainland tourists as lacking self-discipline. Like every society, there are those who do not conform. While few would go to the extreme of relieving themselves in a crowded train, it is not unusual to come across lifts, underpasses and street corners in our city that reek with the smell of urine. Elsewhere, telephone booths and underground stations are notorious for being used as public conveniences in the early hours.

We trust the train passengers' reactions have sent a clear message to the mother that what her daughter did was not acceptable in our society. Visitors should be made aware of the dos and don'ts in Hong Kong. More education is needed.


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In criticizing mainland tourists, responsible newspapers should differentiate between real issues and nonsense. To me some real issues are over burdened public goods like schools, hospitals and transportation. Nonsense issues include long lines at Prada and conveyor belt sushi shops. Loud talking, queue jumping, not holding doors, pushing, bumping into ppl -- frankly are nonsense issues, and local HKers are just as guilty. Five year old kids peeing on trains is gross, but how many parents can really control their children's bladder. This I see as another nonsense issue.
I think you need to be educated on the unreliable nature of a 5 year old's bladder control regardless of where they come from. It is an amazing leap to link a clearly under resourced mother and 5 year old to a broader comment on societal education. Following your article I was very interested in cancelling my subscription to SCMP, however I have become too reliant on your weekend hardcopies to pick up after my English bulldog. She was born in mainland China but surely its partly the fault of England.
How about publishing this in newspapers in China?
and the point of this article is????
"more education is needed" --> no sh_t Einstein.
why don't you provide some insight instead of stating the obvious.
You've obviously never ridden the metro in a big European city




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