Beijing launches new bid to ‘civilise’ residents ahead of Apec summit

'Civilisation' campaign aims to clamp down on queue-jumping and smoking

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 1:47pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 6:39pm

Beijing on Tuesday launched a new effort to “civilise” its residents by clamping down on queue-jumping and smoking ahead of a summit for Asian leaders later this year.

The campaign, labelled “Embracing Apec Wonderful Pekingese-Citizen Civilised Behaviour Promotion,” also promises to crack down on jaywalking, drink driving and drivers refusing to stop at zebra crossings.

The Beijing municipal government said in a press release that it aims to encourage “civilised orderly and courteous transport, to improve people’s overall quality to display (their) wonderfulness.”

It follows a similar campaign ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which saw authorities target spitting, littering and disorderly lines for public transport.

Beijing government Civilisation Office spokesman Han Longbin said that the Olympic campaign had achieved results, but “people are still running red lights”.

“We still need to promote better queueing, and we will depend on promoting civilisation and also legal measures,” he added, without giving details.

Residents will be encouraged to tackle the capital’s chronic smog by taking part in a “clean atmosphere blue day action,” which involves taking public transport and buying “green” products.

Other behaviours due for censure include “making a racket”, smoking in public places and eating while on public transport.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum, which includes China and the United States, will see leaders from more than 20 countries and economies descend on Beijing in November.

In 2008, Beijing residents were told by authorities not to wear more than three colours, not to shake hands for longer than three seconds nor match white socks with black shoes, in a government etiquette-education campaign to prepare the capital for to host the Olympics that year.

A booklet distributed to residents also told people not to jump queues, spit or take off their shoes and put their feet on the opposite bench when taking a train.

The booklet also listed eight taboo questions when talking to foreigners, including asking about their income, age, religious beliefs and political views.

Education campaigns also touched on details such as the best skirt length for young women, with older women asked to wear dresses extending at least 3cm below their knees.

People were discouraged from visiting neighbours in pyjamas and slippers, as some elderly mainlanders often do.

Women were told to stand with their feet slightly apart, in a V or Y shape, when wearing skirts, and males and females were cautioned against putting their faces too close to members of the opposite sex when talking in public. Men were told to refrain from helping women carry their handbags.