This interview has a podcast version, click here to switch to audio Click here to switch back to video

Chinese tourists may have a reputation for misbehaving when visiting other countries but it is understandable given China's current level of development and etiquette awareness, explains Sara Jane Ho, Founder of Institute Sarita.

A lot of times people ask me what I think of Chinese tourists behaving abroad. 

I don’t think that they’re rude on purpose. They’re just not aware that their actions or words are offensive to others sometimes, because this etiquette awareness hasn’t been awakened in them yet.

Thirty years ago, people in China didn’t have enough electricity and were eating by candlelight. China has since experienced immense change. 

No other country has gone through such a huge transformation in such a short amount of time. Comparing with Great Britain, their industrial revolution lasted 150-200 years. America’s was a bit shorter, but it happened in parallel with continental expansion. 

In China today there's industrial, services and technological revolutions all in one. Thirty years ago people were poor, today you have every single foreign luxury brand with their eye on China. Only 5 or 6 years ago did you really have Western restaurants becoming popular. 

When it comes to different eating habits between Westerners and Chinese, it’s as if I told you to go to the surgical room and operate," says Sara about Chinese discovering cutlery for the first time, "you wouldn’ t know what to do all these instruments."

In China, we’ve been using chopsticks - in my opinion a very elegant way to eat - for the last 200 years.

China is becoming better and its people more polite. The main reason is education. The other key reason is Chinese becoming more well-traveled. The next generation will just get better as these trends continue. 

When life is busy and getting faster, then the first thing to forget is manners. This is not only in China, it’s all over the world.
 

Premium Content

Go Top