At Baidewei we like building bridges, and we insist the China is not only a country where to make business, but also a place with infinite possibilities for restless tourists who want to discover different and exotic places. At the same time, we’ve mentioned in various occasions that the Chinese tourism boom around the world is a consequence of the increasing purchasing power of the Chinese population, and how this type of tourist needs certain attentions to make sure it feels comfortable and wants to come back. But is the Chinese tourist a good tourist? We are not talking about income, but about behavior.
Recently, CCTV (China’s Central Television) released a commercial where several pandas could be seen exhibiting a devious behavior along Sidney harbor. In the video – which you can access by clicking on the image – several people disguised as pandas can be seen sleeping on benches, pushing past elderly, graffiti-spraying or urinating on the streets. The commercial was taken off air short after due to the controversy raised.
The commercial raises several doubts, questions and polemic reactions. Which are true or correct is a matter of personal opinion. We here leave you with our thoughts and comments.
1. It is a fact that Chinese have a different social behavior. They spit, burp during meals with other people or anywhere without caring who is around and, maybe due to the high density of population, rules when queuing and respecting turns are very different and usually nonexistent. But in any case, we are discussing cultural features which are very different from many other countries’. Therefore, thinking we are discussing cultural characteristics, was it necessary to take the commercial off air if the only thing it was trying to do was to inform the Chinese citizens how to behave abroad?
2. On the other hand, graffiti-spraying in public places are not a Chinese thing, and it is understood that if they are not done in specifically authorized places, in most cases they are considered vandalism. May it be that the commercial offended some spectators because they felt they were being called vandals?
3. In any case, was it necessary to present Chinese as pandas? Even though it is a Chinese symbol and a much loved animal by the Chinese society, why are Chinese citizens caricatured in this spot? Was it meant to make it less serious?
4. What’s the meaning behind the last sentence? The commercial finishes saying “Be a good panda, be a good tourist”. Are pandas good tourists? Or do they think pandas are so loved all around the world that Chinese should behave as such when they are abroad?
5. So, what is a good panda anyway? Are we going to start seeing Chinese chewing bamboo while queuing in front of Sagrada Familia?
In conclusion, it is good to know the Beijing government is aware that when abroad there are certain behavioral rules that need to change and others we need to adapt to. Therefore, we believe as a campaign the commercial isn’t bad at all. However the format, although it was funny and relaxed, which we believe is a good thing, caricatures Chinese citizens in a way almost ridicule. If it is appropriate or not, it’s a good thing the Chinese can decide it. And if it was offensive to some, it’s a good thing it was taken off air. That said, it would be a good thing if everyone saw the commercial. Because, it is good not only for Chinese, but also for anyone with a slight deficiency of common sense. Let’s not forget that not long ago Barcelona, and more specifically the Gothic neighborhood, was well-known for its urine stench. Let’s keep it in mind.
So, stay well and be a good panda, whatever that means…