There’s a lot of great things in store for Chinese travelers; a world full of wonders (and shopping opportunities) just waiting to be discovered. That is, of course, if you make it that far. On Friday last week, China published its inaugural passenger blacklist, featuring identifying information of 169 Chinese people banned from train and/or air travel.
In total, 86 individuals are banned from air travel for a full year after breaking one of the nine rules that have that repercussion in under China’s new travel regime.
- Bringing banned items on board such as lighters, knives, tear gas, electroshockers, handcuffs, and bullets
- Using other people’s IDs to take flights
- Picking quarrels on the plane
- Disobeying cabin orders
- Smoking on the plane
- Making up and spreading terror information
- Forceful boarding, intercepting an aircraft, intruding on the pilot cabin, runway, or apron
- Hindering or inciting others to hinder boarding and security checks, or attacking others
- Steal people’s belongings in the cabin
This year, the 86 people banned from air travel had each broken one of the rules one through five, with no recorded incident of passengers breaking the latter four rules.
In arguably dystopian fashion, the names of all banned passengers were published by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). In the public document, the full names and offenses of banned passengers are listed.
Moreover, banned passengers can also be searched on the government website Credit China (信用中国) by name and citizen identification number.
It is unclear if airlines and other transportation companies are expected to use this information to do the policing on behalf of Chinese authorities, or if the purpose is simply to name-and-shame offenders. Presumably, a public record of one’s misdeeds could have repercussions that extend beyond travel.
However, it’s not only passengers that will be under increased scrutiny. China’s newly-formed Ministry of Culture and Tourism is planning to roll out “a platform to regulate and supervise the tourism industry” on July 1. According to the limited information available about the platform at the moment, it will primarily be used to make it easier for customers to scrutinize travel agencies and tour guides as well as file complaints.
If China’s travel blacklist will help raise the profile of Chinese tourists by lowering the number of embarrassing incidents remains to be seen. After years of international tourism development in China, an internet search for “Chinese tourists” still renders a first page of results largely about Chinese tourists being “the worst,” “too loud, too rude,” and “behaving badly.” Certainly not a good look for China, which has ambitions to use its international tourists as a soft power tool.