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How Well Behaved are Beijingers?


May 18, 2012
By Pang Lei

According to the latest figures from the National Survey Research Center (NSRC) at Renmin University, over the past seven years, Beijing residents have become increasingly polite and well behaved.

The center maintains a "public behavior index" (北京市民公共行为文明指数) that attempts to put a figure on how polite residents of the capital (including laowai) really are.

The index is based on an annual survey of about 10,000 Beijing residents along with more than 1,000 long-term expats (who have lived in the city for more than 2 years) and is worked out in accordance with 5 second-tier indicators (sanitation, order, social interaction, viewing habits and participation) and 34 third-tier markers.

These third-level indicators include things like littering, queue jumping while waiting for the bus, jaywalking, spitting, willingness to give directions and willingness to give up their seats to the elderly on public transport.

The most recent results of the survey were released earlier this week. According to the survey, people living in Beijing are now paying more attention to their behavior and manners than ever before.

The figure for this year's results is 83.05 - a score of 100 would mean that there was absolutely no bu wenming behavior talking place - a vast increase on the score of 65.21 achieved when the survey was first conducted in 2005.

Like the numbers of “blue sky” days, the index increased at a constant rate in the lead up to the Olympics.

In 2006 Beijingers had achieved a mark of only 69.06 in terms of their manners and in 2007 this had improved to 73.38. In the Olympic year itself, the index reached 82.68. Since then the index has climbed more slowly, reaching 82.91 in 2009 and 83.02 in 2010.

Though the general index has continued to improve over the past seven years, there has been some backsliding in some areas.

For example, the incidence of pedestrians crossing the road when the light is red, increased by 0.58 percentage points to 1.13 percent in 2011 when compared to last year. Though this is still a lot better than the 4 percent registered during the first survey which was conducted in 2005.

Here at the EO we hope that those conducting the survey are also paying attention to the number of drivers who don't give way to pedestrians when turning right at a red light.

Links and Sources
The Beijing News: 报告称北京市民文明指数连续7年上升
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