China orders etiquette classes for schoolchildren

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Indy Lifestyle Online

China has mandated that all schoolchildren undergo lessons on etiquette - the latest expression of concern over uncultured manners in one of the world's oldest civilisations.

Teachers will be required to instruct primary school students in the intricacies of basic decorum, respecting elders and proper table manners, according to guidelines posted on the education ministry's website.

Middle-schoolers meanwhile will learn how to hold polite conversations, be courteous to others, dress properly, and how to observe etiquette in telephone, email, text-messaging and other correspondence.

In high school, the basics of polite one-on-one conversation, adequate grooming and standing in orderly queues will be among the subjects stressed.

Many of China's down-to-earth citizens are notorious for practices such as queue-jumping, spitting and littering, which are seen as obnoxious in the country itself as well as abroad.

Beijing authorities launched a range of civic improvement campaigns aimed at such social scourges in the run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, fearing the capital's citizens would embarrass the city in the eyes of the world.

However, such behaviour remains common both in Beijing and elsewhere.

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