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Beijingers' manners 'getting better'
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The Olympics has sharply improved the manners of Beijingers, a survey of more than 13,200 people has revealed.

The survey found that a politeness index devised by the Renmin University of China had risen to 82.68, on a scale of 0 to 100, up almost 10 points on an equivalent survey held last year.

It was conducted after the Olympics among 12,000 Chinese, 1,200 foreigners living in Beijing for more than two years and drawn from observations at more than 300 public venues.

"The government's efforts since it won the right to host the Games and local residents' willingness to be a polite host have been the main reasons," Liao Fei, a sociology professor with the Beijing-based university, told China Daily on Tuesday.

The most significant improvement was in the category of spitting.

Last year, 2.5 percent of respondents said they spat wherever and whenever they felt the need, but the rate fell to 0.75 percent in this year.

When it came to another notorious behavior - queue jumping - the proportion of Beijing residents who said they pushed in ahead of others waiting in line fell from 1.5 percent to 0.67 percent.

From February to August, Beijing issued 2.8 million pamphlets about etiquette to households and offered training to public servants and 870,000 service sector workers.

The city has also designated the 11th day of every month a "voluntary queuing day" to gradually rid the city of queue jumpers.

Liao attributed the government's greater scrutiny of visitors to Beijing and the odd-even plate control traffic restrictions, which meant buses and subway cars were less crowded than usual, to the city's improved etiquette.

"Although the government's efforts would have still made the change happen, without the temporary measures the change would not be so significant," Liao said.

Liang Xiaomeng, a graduate of a British university, said Beijing residents are very warmhearted.

"Once I lost my way finding the company that was interviewing me, but a Beijing local led me there," Liang said.

(China Daily October 31, 2008)

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