Houston Community News >> Yao Calls China to Become More Courteous

10/20/2006 Beijing - China's superstar Yao Ming said Chinese people must become more courteous before the 2008 Olympic Games, and he asked them to stop shouting in public and to respect pedestrians, state press said Friday.

"I suggest we work on our public courtesy," the NBA superstar said in an interview in the forthcoming issue of Beijing 2008, a publication put out by the organizers of the 2008 Olympic Games. "For example, westerners lower their voices in restaurants so as not to bother other people."

"Jumping ahead in queues is a definite no-no." Yao, a four-time NBA All Star with the Houston Rockets, has been praised in China as a model athlete and a cultural ambassador of the nation, as well as becoming a global sports icon.

"Motorists should follow traffic rules, respect pedestrians and stop to let them pass first," Yao said of China's notoriously dangerous drivers who rarely stop to allow people to cross streets. "Such courtesies are no small matter, they are the sign of an internationalized host nation with a great cultural tradition," he said in the interview carried by the English-language China Daily.

He further urged Chinese people not crowd around athletes when they come to Beijing for the games, but allow "athletes a lot of personal space."

Yao earlier this year enraged China's seafood industry after he vowed never to eat shark fin soup -- a traditional Chinese delicacy -- in a high profile environmental campaign to save endangered species of sharks. "You made rash remarks, without investigating the issues first and without any deep understanding of the real situation," a group of seafood associations said in an open letter to Yao.

China is the world's biggest consumer and importer of sharks' fin, with fishermen catching shark for its prized fins and throwing the living remains back into the ocean to die a slow death, WildAid, organizer of the campaign, said.

Contributed by AFP