In a surprising move Chinese authorities have banned four people from leaving the country after they were caught misbehaving on a recent trip.
Beijing is seeking to improve the image of its tourists in the global economy as they are visiting touristy spots in increasingly large numbers. Chinese tourists have earned a reputation for rudeness in recent years.
The China National Tourism Administration banned a woman who poured instant noodles soaked in hot water onto a flight attendant. Her boyfriend was also blacklisted after joining in the altercation.
While the bans may seem extreme, in America the two would have been arrested. The incident caused their AirAsia flight to be diverted, which authorities here view very seriously. The pair were not charged in the incident.
The two are the first to join the travel ban program, which was just authorized in April. The new law allows authorities to ban travelers for unruly, disruptive, disrespectful or illegal behaviors while travelling abroad. No punishments are specified but police, customs, border security, transportation agencies and credit agencies are all informed of the ban.
The bans will be effective until until March 2017.
Another person was handed a similar two year ban for forcibly opening an emergency door on a domestic flight.
The most serious ban was for a fourth man who climbed onto statutes of revolutionary soldiers, drawing widespread condemnation on Chinese social media. He was handed a 10 year ban.
The move roughly speaking brings China into line with western countries in terms of discipline for incidents that involve planes. In most developed countries tampering with aircraft systems or abusing flight attendants is groups for charges, although travel bans do not customarily result from such incidents. Passengers can, however, end up on the much more severe No Fly List which is difficult to get off and contains no provision for appeal.