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.
Chinese tourists damaged historical site, says Taiwan media
Fort Zeelandia vandalised by Chinese tourists, according to Taiwanese reports
Chinese tourists were seen damaging a historical site and exhibiting unruly behaviour on a recent visit to southern Taiwan during the China’s Golden Week holiday, according to a Taiwanese media report.
Witnesses told television station TVBS that they had seen Chinese tourists using their fingers to poke and dig away at the fragile mortar and concrete walls of Fort Zeelandia, a grade-one national heritage site in city of Tainan.
A building with a history ranging more than 400 years, the Fort’s exterior walls have endured centuries of weathering and erosion and is now vulnerable to vandalism by tourists, the report said.
The newscast added that the tourists, speaking Chinese dialects, continued trying to hollow out the walls of the fort despite staff efforts to intervene.
In addition, some Chinese tourists were seen smoking and spitting inside the site, openly flouting the site’s warning signs.
Greater Tainan Cultural Affairs Bureau Director Yeh Tse-shan confirmed to Taipei Times that the behaviour of the Chinese tourists had violated the nation’s Cultural Heritage Preservation Act. But he also indicated the difficulties in curbing such misconduct.
“The Fort Zeelandia site is spread over a large area. It is hard to hire enough guards to monitor every spot,” Yeh was cited as saying.
He also dismissed a suggestion of erecting barriers to separate tourists from the site, saying the construction could risk damaging the site as well.
According to Taiwan’s heritage preservation law, those who are found guilty of damaging heritage sites can be punished with imprisonment of up to five years and fines between TW$200,000 and $1,000,000 (HK$53,000 and HK$265,000).
Yeh said in general heritage sites are reliant on tour guides and volunteer staff to help supervise tourists’ behaviour and explain regulations to them.