The etiquette of mainland Chinese travellers has again come under fire after a family allegedly allowed their child to defecate on the seat of a Delta Airlines flight from Beijing to Detroit.
Flight attendants and fellow passengers tried to have the child moved to the aircraft toilet, but both parents and grandparents who were accompanying the child were insistent, leaving the flight attendant no choice but to drop the subject, it was reported.
The child's parents spread newspaper on the airline seat and encouraged the child to relieve himself there, according to the Daily Mail.
The resulting odour quickly filled the cabin, sending disgusted passengers into a fury.
Chinese social network Weibo lit up after hearing the story, and condemned the family for disgracing their nation.
It's not the first time an incident like this has occurred; earlier this year a child was photographed passing motion on a domestic flight in China, and another was allowed to defecate in a train carriage in Hong Kong.
One woman allowed her son to answer nature's call at a restaurant table in Hong Kong, in a bottle she usually carried around for such purposes.
The woman's actions outraged residents of Hong Kong, to which she responded in an online forum as 'discrimination'.
Questionable etiquette has long been a cause of consternation amongst Hong Kongers, who routinely complain about the unrefined social habits of their 'nouveau-riche" mainland counterparts.
Asian media often reports on outrageous Chinese conduct overseas, which ranges from bad behaviour on planes such as refusing to switch off mobile phones, to disruptive, drunken passengers.
While any nationality can behave badly overseas, it's not nearly in the numbers reported for their Chinese counterparts.
Last year, a horrified Chinese tourist discovered scribbled Chinese language graffiti on a bas-relief in a 3500-year-old temple in Luxor, Egypt reading, "Ding Jinhao was here."
The blogger who discovered the graffiti deplored the behaviour of his countrymen abroad. "I'm so embarrassed I want to hide myself, " he said.
China has moved to educate its people on travel etiquette, with the National Tourism Administration issuing guidelines to the world's leading tourists urging them to refrain from littering, spitting or pushing in queues.
Hong Kong's Post magazine recently reported on a school of etiquette opening in Beijing, modelled along the lines of Swiss finishing schools, that will offer "exclusive clientele lessons in being classy".
- Sydney Morning Herald