02/21/2007, 00.00
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Chinese to perk up etiquette ahead of 2008 Olympics

Government campaign against public spitting and littering is getting results. Still, Beijing residents have not yet met minimal standards. Authorities set aside an anti-queue jumping day.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A government’s campaign to improve etiquette ahead of next year’s Olympic Games is having positive results but the residents of the capital are still far from getting any “gold medal” in the field, state media reported yesterday.

“Incidents of littering, spitting, flaunting traffic rules and pushing ahead in queues have all started to decline since 2005,” state-owned Xinhua news agency said, citing an extensive Renmin University study that surveyed local residents and foreigners.

A ‘civic index’—measuring compliance with health and social rules, attitudes towards strangers, etiquette in watching sports events and willingness to contribute to the Olympics—was improving, the study said.

The index was 69.06 last year, up 3.85 points from 2005 but still well down on the 72 to 78 target set for August 2008, when the world will focus on Beijing for the Olympic Games.

As part of government efforts to improve manners, 4.3 million households have received pamphlets outlining social misdemeanours such as spitting and littering.

The government also held its first designated anti-queue jumping day this month and residents will now be expected to pay special attention to not pushing in line on the 11th of each month.

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