by Hannah Punitha on  November 1, 2008 at 3:56 PM Lifestyle News
 Olympics Has Refined Beijing Spitters and Queue-jumpers
Hosting the Olympics has made Beijing's notoriously rough-edged citizens more civil, with social scourges such as spitting and queue-jumping on the decline, state media reported on Friday.

A bizarre civic index that claims to record minute changes in Beijingers' manners has risen to 82.68 on a scale of 100, up 10 points from last year, the China Daily reported.

Based on a post-Olympics survey of more than 13,200 people and observations at more than 300 public venues, it found just 0.75 percent of respondents spat wherever and whenever they wanted, down from 2.5 percent last year, it said.

The most significant improvement was in the category of spitting, the newspaper said of the latest index, devised by Beijing's Renmin University.

Authorities in Beijing have in recent years conducted a range of campaigns to civilise Beijing residents, amid concerns they would embarrass the country when it hosted the Olympics in August.

Last year, in a speech marking the 12-month countdown to the Games, China's chief Olympic organiser, Liu Qi, warned the manners of Beijing residents could embarrass the host nation.

We must carry out a campaign for a civilised environment and thoroughly resolve rampant spitting, dumping of garbage and other uncivilised behaviour... as over four billion people will be watching Beijing, he said.

These campaigns have included making one day a month a no queue-jumping day, while fines for spitting have been dished out and beggars kicked off the streets.

Another day each month was designated Seat-Giving Day to encourage people to give up their seats on trains and buses to those in greater need.

Following the campaign, queue-jumping was down to 0.67 percent, from an earlier 1.5 percent, the index found. Littering and seat giving also apparently improved.

Despite the latest index results, such behaviour is still commonly seen in the city.

Source: AFP

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