Beijing to Chinese Tourists: Smarten Up!

New handbook lists ways in which Chinese can avoid offending locals when traveling overseas

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Christian Hartmann / Reuters

Chinese tourists walk past the entrance of Cosmetics company L'Oreal building in Paris, Aug. 16, 2013.

As China continues to flourish, its burgeoning middle classes flock to experience foreign destinations, occasionally bringing them into conflict with local sensibilities. Vice Premier Wang Yang warned in May that a stereotype of “uncivilized behavior” had “damaged the image of the Chinese people.” So to avoid any potential embarrassment, Beijing on Oct. 1 released a 64-page handbook filled with sage advice for Chinese nationals on vacation — including not picking noses in public, not leaving footprints on toilet seats and not pinching airplane life jackets.

The new guide also  offers contrasting advice for different destinations, such as not snapping fingers to beckon Germans, ensuring that women always wearing earrings in Spain and avoiding playing with clothes or hair during a meal in Japan.