laowai misbehaving soul search tourists

A Foreigner Disobeying Rules in China Starts Passionate Online Soul-Searching

Double standard, or pot calling the kettle black?

Photos of a foreigner disobeying regulations is all it takes to spark a heated debate between Chinese people about double standards and moral authority at a time when Chinese tourists have been chastised and blacklisted for committing the same behavior.

laowai misbehaving soul search tourists

On Sunday, an unidentified expat mother was seen putting her two children onto the back of a 600 year-old statue at the Ming tombs in Nanjing. And yet, seen together in the same photograph, a sign posted nearby asks visitors to refrain from climbing onto the historical relics.

Poor behavior by Chinese tourists has been popular in the news lately, with a few tourists even being blacklisted. And, as if to punctuate its own pointed criticisms, reports of the disobeying expat mother have included photographs of Chinese parents at the same statue, doing the same thing next to the same sign.

laowai misbehaving soul search tourists laowai misbehaving soul search tourists

What does it all mean? If we were to take the answer from the heated discussion from this popular post, it means that even the most benign behavior by expats can lead to heated rounds of soul-searching by Chinese.

As seen in the comments that follow, no middle ground exists between those that say expats exploit a double standard afforded to them in China, and those that say Chinese are in no position to occupy the moral high ground.

Here’s what some had to say:

Foreign trash has flowed into China.

So many complainers. None of you Nanjing residents have ever ridden on it when you were young?

It’s common for people to have ridden on it when they were younger… what’s more, it’s been climbed upon for hundreds of years without any problem. If you honestly want to protect it, then put up a fence around it along with posting bilingual signs in Chinese and English along with regular patrols arranged by the management. Not paying attention to rules is human nature.

I think the pictogram (on the sign) is fairly easy for everyone to understand…

laowai misbehaving soul search tourists

Chinese should be the first to pay attention towards correcting poor morals.

You retards! You say that foreigners follow the example of Chinese parents who put their children on the statue because there are no English signs. You say that even if it’s her own fault, foreigners are always cultivated people! And yet, besides not being able to read Chinese, she also can’t understand the pictures?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. We can only blame our own countrymen for not setting a proper example.

That foreigners are shown to be “cultured” really makes people blush!

Some people have kneeled for so long that they’ve forgotten how to stand up. And yet you say this isn’t inappropriate? Hehehehe

Double standards are nauseating.

It sickens me to see people kissing up to foreigners. Those Chinese who get ridiculed when you travel abroad to places where you don’t know the local customs: Do you also ridicule your countrymen for lacking proper etiquette?

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor