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Some Chinese tourists uncivilized: top official

The dire manners and “uncivilized behavior” of some Chinese tourists abroad are harming the country's image, said a top official who lamented their poor “quality and breeding,” according to state-run media.

Wang Yang, one of China’s four vice premiers, singled out for condemnation “talking loudly in public places, jay-walking, spitting and willfully carving characters on items in scenic zones.”

Such "uncivilized behaviors" were "often criticized by the media and have damaged the image of Chinese people and caused vicious impact", he said, according to the website of the People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece.

China proclaims itself a 5,000-year-old civilization but at a government meeting Thursday on a new tourism law Wang said: “The quality and breeding of some tourists are not high yet.”

Chinese consumers have become increasingly affluent on the back of its economic boom and foreign holidays are ever more popular, with shopping often a key activity.

Destination countries, including debt-laden European states, have been easing visa restrictions to attract more tourists from China, but reports have also emerged of complaints about etiquette.

“Improving the civilized quality of the citizens and building a good image of Chinese tourists are the obligations of governments at all levels and relevant agencies and companies,” said Wang, a former party chief of Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong.

Authorities should "guide tourists to conscientiously abide by public order and social ethics, respect local religious beliefs and customs, mind their speech and behavior... and protect the environment,” he said.