3) The lack of education
I would attribute some of the inconsiderate behavior such as environmental damage to the lack of education. Yes, China is now getting richer and many people are educated. However their social inequality is also very high which means that there are many people who are deprived of the opportunity to further their studies.
Furthermore, during the period of 1960s-1970s, China was going through a politically unstable period. Many of the people who were born or young during that time were deprived of proper education. As such, many don’t speak English or even standard mandarin well. They end up not understanding several social norms.
Thus, if you observe closely, not every single Chinese tourist or immigrant is rude. Usually, the educated people have better behaviour than those who are less educated.
I would think that the quality of education in schools and poor public education is one of the main reasons why Chinese people are not as environmentally conscious as the rest of the world. China’s prosperity has increased demand for things like animal fur, Tiger, Shark, elephant and rhinoceros products leading to a huge decline in these endangered animals.
In fact, during my recent trip to the Maldives, the resort had specially started a compulsory lecture that everyone had to attend before snorkelling. The course was in two languages – Mandarin and English. When I asked why, the staff told me it was due to the rise in Mainland tourist who were unfamiliar with how to protect our oceans and coral reefs. I also noticed that the slides were in Chinese and English but not in other languages.
Why do they have such poor environmental awareness? I would think that it is because it is something that is not emphasized on in schools and the culture. When people are so busy thinking about how to survive and meet basic material needs, it is difficult for them to think about higher-order things like charity, environmental preservation etc.
However I believe that this is improving. It isworth noting that before 1994, China had no environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs). As of 2005, there are approximately 2,000 NGOs that were officially registered. In 2013, China banned Sharkfin in all official banquets and this year, sales of shark fin has plunged drastically. The European Union is also starting to collaborate with China to pursue green growth.