Shameful slap leaves tourists with red faces

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/3 22:13:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Editor's Note:

Late last week, a Chinese tourist surnamed Liang was detained for allegedly slapping a cashier twice at a duty free store in Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International Terminal, after her missing card was found beside the cash register. The event has triggered heated discussions online. The Global Times has collected three pieces on this issue.

Bad behavior at home gets exported overseas

The slapping incident is still fermenting on social media. It has reflected some Chinese tourists' lack of legal consciousness. Liang was harshly criticized by netizens for tainting the reputation of her compatriots. Given the frequently reported scandals about poorly-mannered Chinese tourists, the Chinese society needs some reflection.

The public tends to morally blame Chinese tourists' for their poor manners overseas. Although an old topic, Chinese' manners can always spark strong criticisms from others for the sake of patriotism. But discussions at a moral level will not help solve the issue.

It should be pointed out that the slapping scandal is first a legal issue. Anyone who slaps others should be held legally responsible both at home and abroad. Under the rule of law, anyone who breaches the rules, challenges laws or ignores other people's rights is equally treated in China and foreign countries. Slapping others should not be simply regarded as a morally wrong behavior that taints the image of Chinese in a globalized era. If such incidents are taken slightly, the public may gradually lose their ability to reflect on themselves.

These years have seen a number of cases of Chinese tourists behaving rudely overseas. No matter whether they act this way due to impulse or a sense of financial superiority, impolite and even violent behavior is a mirror of daily habits. Slapping the cashier might seem like it shames Chinese people, but in fact it also demonstrates a lack of legal consciousness among Chinese. A well-behaved person who respects rules and laws at home will not behave so irrational when traveling overseas.

Uncivilized behaviors overseas are a reflection of our daily life. The ignorance of rules, laws and other people's rights is the root cause of Chinese tourists' poor manners overseas. It is morality, instead of money or social status, that will support us to prevail in the modern society. While criticizing Liang for her violent behavior at the international airport, we should reflect upon our daily manners and raise our legal awareness. Better performances at home will help Chinese behave better abroad.

Don't blame whole group for one act

A Chinese tourist was arrested for assaulting a cashier at a duty free store in Los Angeles' Tom Bradley International Terminal. The perpetrator was identified as Liang Qi, a 44-year-old woman, who allegedly slapped the cashier on the face twice before she was brought under control.

This incident was first reported by World Journal, a Chinese language newspaper based in the US. It soon reached more readers across the Pacific Ocean and became a sensational event.

Many Chinese media have re-headlined the story in their reprints, adding attention-grabbing adjectives to modify the incident, such as describing the woman's slaps as "manic."

It is the media's responsibility to sort out the cause and effect and write the truth. If they cannot stick to this basic principle, their reports will mislead the public and even cause social disturbances. Detailed revelation is the basis of rational judgment.

Even though in this case, everything that has been reported is real, the media should be noted that their voice must avoid labeling an individual's behaviors as a group's nature. Prejudice cannot prevail over truth and rationality. One middle-aged Chinese tourist cannot represent every Chinese tourist overseas or every Chinese person.

If people's minds are misled and bogged down in overgeneralization, their thoughts will go off the track of rationality. Their ideas will be full of prejudice and bias. They will avoid looking at the big picture, and repeatedly select similar incidents to reinforce their bigotry.

When the bigotry is finally taken root in their mind, they will be easily aroused, and pour resentment and anger to the society.

Every society has scum. Some foreigners lack of manners and morality in China. We need to reflect on the dark side of our society and people, but the effort should be based on facts instead of imagination. In this process, we must ensure individuals and group cannot be confused, or overgeneralization and too much sentiment will only result in prejudice and isolation.

Focus on the assault, not the 'good reasons'

The slapping scandal has triggered a public uproar since it is related to the national image of China and the civility of Chinese tourists. That the slapped person was an ethnically Chinese cashier has excited public opinion even more. Despite different voices, most netizens "wish" Liang, who tainted the reputation of Chinese tourists, "never comes back to China," in a demonstration of their patriotic sentiments.

Chinese netizens are focusing more on why Liang slapped the cashier than the slapping itself. They may even show sympathy to the perpetrator if she had "good reasons" to slap the cashier. But from the US perspective, whatever motivated the assault, slapping deserves punishment but it is up to judges to decide on the reasons behind the incident.

In fact, many Chinese tourists are spoiled by their compatriots, who insist on their own sense of "justice" for poor behavior overseas. The perpetrator would be forgiven as long as he or she has "good reasons" for the assault and in this sense, even slapping can be "moral." Netizens have different standards at home and abroad.

A country's image is a reflection of its domestic image. Those who find violence justifiable are not qualified to discuss the image of Chinese tourists. For them, what is truly shameful is slapping someone in a foreign country, not the move itself. They have absurd double standards on the rule of law and humanity. The recent cases of doctor-patient conflicts and the tiger tragedy at Beijing's Badaling Wildlife Park have reflected the double standards in public opinion.

When violence can always be justified by people in China, these people have gone beyond respect for the rule of law or human rights. It is natural for people living in such environment to behave poorly overseas and taint China's image as a whole. Therefore, while Liang reflected on her violent behavior in US custody before being released soon, the Chinese public also needs some reflection too.

Qianjiang Evening News

Posted in: Viewpoint

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