TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A survey carried out by Fuji Television found that over 60 percent of Chinese questioned admitted to taking articles from hotels home, and Japanese hotels said that they lost an average of about 20,000 Yen a month due to theft of supplies and equipment.
After the program was broadcast in Japan, it became surprisingly popular in China, with Chinese media outlet Beijing Time carrying out a similar survey on five-star hotels. However, the Chinese survey found that stolen items were the least of their worries.
Of the 100 Chinese tourists, Fuji Television recently surveyed, 63 admitted to taking items from the hotels with them after checking out. The head of a hotel told the news service that the objects most commonly taken away by Chinese guests included toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste), hotel slippers, hair dryers, toilet paper, and large bottles of shampoo and body wash.
In the past, there have been extreme cases in which some Chinese guests took TV sets off their mountings and stuffed them in their luggage. Other hotels reported that cleaners were astonished to find whole beds had disappeared after Chinese tourists checked out from their rooms.
The manager of the hotel also said that many Chinese guests preferred to make off with the toilet paper holders, rather than the toilet paper itself, which he found hard to comprehend.
After the program was translated into Chinese and shared on pirated video websites, it aroused heated discussions among Chinese netizens. When interviewed by state-run media outlets, managers of many chain hotels and five-star hotels in China insisted that Chinese tourists never stole anything from the rooms because things like combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sewing bags, and slippers are all complimentary.
The only objects Chinese guests are not allowed to take away are items which can be cleaned and reused by the hotel, such as bath towels, sheets, and cups. However, when interviewed by state-run media, the managers insisted that Chinese guests do not take these items, "this sort of thing is rare, very rare," said one hotelier.
However, a staff member of a five-star hotel revealed that Chinese customers are more than capable of causing trouble, far worse than stealing hotel property. Examples listed by the employee included, "smoking in the room, burning the carpet, and cutting and eating watermelon on the carpet, resulting in stains that could not be washed out."
He added that Chinese travelers also like to "dress up as God, play the devil" (裝神弄鬼). For example, they would drink a bottle of mineral water that would normally result in a charge of 50 Chinese yuan, but would instead fill it back with tap water and put the cap back, pretending that it had been untouched.
A Chinese netizen who read the Beijing Time report said they had checked into a hotel room where a previous Chinese guest had hollowed out the bottom of a bowl of ramen noodles to consume its contents, but left the lid and packaging fully intact to avoid any charge.
As for the state-run media narrative that Chinese tourists "very rarely steal items" from hotels, some Chinese netizens begged to differ:
"At the hotel where I work, after a guest picked up his new bride and relatives, the coffee maker disappeared."
"It's because the towels [in Chinese hotels] are too filthy that they don't steal them."
"It's simply because moral standards are different. Japanese believe that taking toothbrushes and slippers is stealing, while Chinese think that disposable items are up for grabs."
Another netizen theorized that because people have to check in under their real names in China and because there is a close inspection carried out before they are allowed to leave, people steal fewer things. "As for boiling underwear in the tea kettle and wiping their bottom on the sheets, these are strictly not illegal. They are just hard to detect for a while. It can be seen from this that Chinese people have a higher IQ. Therefore, Japanese brains are square, while Chinese brains are round," wrote the netizen.