A part of the government’s whole ‘harmonious society’ campaign is “civilizing the population.”
The key point is that China needs a more ‘civilized’ – ie ‘Wenming’ population. Lets repeat that- a more civilized, more harmonious, population, which adheres to Confucian principles. This is suggesting that the debauched years of ‘Three Represents Crony Capitalism’ (TRCC) must end, to be replaced by the aforementioned harmonious society. Its all quite simple.
As a quick easy reference this is what being ‘Wenming‘ (ie. civilized) looks like and this most certainly is not being ‘Wenming.’
As a part of the being ‘Wenming’ campaign/strategy a lot of navel gazing is taking place in the local press as hordes of tourists from China are gearing up for the annual ‘golden week’ exodus. No sniggers in the back please from the ‘golden shower’ crowd. The Chinese New Year holiday, this February, will see just under two billion people taking their holidays. Nobody is sure how many Chinese citizens will go abroad, a lot anyhow.
A early draft of a poster as purloined by Shanghai Eye
China’s National Tourism Administration has issued its “Chinese citizens abroad civilized behaviour guide,” and the supplementary addition “Conventions of civilized behaviour for Chinese citizens.” Both of which are being widely ignored, as the state press laments.
Local newspapers are lambasting Chinese tourists for a myriad of complaints. Failure to queue in an orderly fashion in Moscow, acting like ‘nouveau riche’ in Paris, as well as stampeding all over the national monuments of Europe for photos. Spitting, littering, smoking, and other types of anti-social behaviour are also a great cause for national shame.
Shanghai Eye isn’t sure why the local press have got into such a state, most foreign (ie. European in this case) locals still think Chinese tourists are Japanese. Any shame is being heaped on the Japanese nation. Someone in the ‘Wenming’ strategy department did not think this through!
But according to one article, French waiters and service staff, notorious for their politeness world wide, are wising up. Apparently French waiters aren’t rude to Japanese tourists because Japanese will ‘resist in groups.’ But Chinese never ‘resist in groups.’ So once the French waiter has figured out that he is serving Chinese and not Japanese he reverts to type. The newspaper does not offer a solution to this conundrum. Perhaps the National Tourism Administration can issue a pamphlet on civilized behaviour for French waiters? They would be sure to study it.
And while the Chinese tourists on cruise ships may be bemused as the locals serenade them with some Japanese tunes and mentions of mount Fuji they at least aren’t bringing their country the disservice and national shame that are the UK’s lager louts, Swiss French mechanics or German towel snatchers, not to mention Italian bum pinchers and Greek speedo wearers, and the French. The average Chinese tourist can be found playing a round of gin rummy and ignoring the Aegean or Mediterranean scenery, umbrellas out to keep off the sun. Alternatively they could be spotted buying up every pair of shoes in a Clarkes outlet on Oxford street, or blitzing Zara, or some other consumption related activity, such as moaning about the food. Shanghai Eye has yet to spot a Chinese tourist puking their guts up from too much lager and throwing a chair through the local taverna window, or peeing on a policeman’s motorcycle for that matter.
But anyway, ten Chinese ministries are planning a campaign to sort Chinese tourists out. It is not clear what is planned, apart from a number of ‘incentives’ will be introduced to induce ‘civilized behaviour,’ including something to be thought up by the Ministry of Public Security. Send your suggestions on a postcard to a local security outlet near you.
In related news authorities are also beginning the annual purge of porno and ‘illegal publications.’ The illegal publications category includes DVDs. The Romans never had these problems. They just crucified anyone they didn’t consider ‘Wenming.’
So here are some further examples to explain Wenming. One would be this website- note they have a banner at the top of the site saying they are a Wenming Internet Station on the Global Information Superhighway. Yes, you can put across a lot more information in Chinese characters, because it is more ‘Wenming’ than the European alphabet. But actually maybe they’re not wenming, well, not wenming in the correct sense, it is confusing.
Here are a few more examples. This is wenming:
This is bu Wenming:
Type or paste 不文明 into www.baidu.com’s picture search engine for hundreds more results.
get fun results like this below:
or this (NSFW). Knock yourself out. Bring back Three Represents Theory, all this Wenming is just too much!
Shanghai Eye’s list of top ten petit bourgeois bu wenming behaviour in Shanghai
- Taxi fights. Parkson is about the worst place to get a taxi, but lets not all forget at People’s square one guy killed another by poking his umbrella into his eye in a taxi fight. And when it rains…Wenming solution: walk or take the tube.
- Turning against a red light into a pedestrian crossing. Yup, happens as if it were legal. Wenming solution: get some steel toe capped boots and kick them as they try to run you over. Alternatively fall over and pretend you were hit.
- Bank queues- even though they now have that numbered ticket system people still try to push in, or worse, use guangxi to get the guard to put them in front of the queue. Wenming solution: call Bank of China customer complaint hotline 95566.
- Beijing –Shanghai flights are inevitably delayed, and the airline never announces it, or shuffles you onto the plane to sit for a couple of hours. Wenming solution: accept this as an inevitable part of the reform and development process.
- Beggars with little kids they probably kidnapped hustling for money and chasing you down the street. Wenming solution: cringe.
- People blocking you getting off the subway, or any common or garden elevator/lift. Wenming solution: shrug/dodge/weave/etc…
- Sitting in a taxi or bus seat to find you’ve sat in piss/vomit/half chewed bamboo, etc. Wenming solution: bash the in-car/bus TV, if possible stick it in your bag and take it home (ed’s note: err…).
- People who steal those nice in lift flat panel TVs. Wenming solution: replace the TV with a police notice on looking after your valuables.
- Bicycle/scooter riders who insist on driving on the pavement. Wenming solution: Tell them to stop in an official manner, check their credentials and fine them. Confiscate their mode of transportation for your personal use if possible.
- Pissing/shitting in the street/ bushes, letting your dog shit at random on the pavement, peoples’ doorsteps, etc. Wenming solution: call the police to report a stray dog in your neighborhood, or at least threaten to do so if you know the owner.
Ed’s note: that’s enough civilization, you’re fired, etc..