How China Uses Tourism as a Weapon

How China Uses Tourism as a Weapon

On this episode of China Uncensored, how China is using tourism as a weapon. Hi, welcome back to China Uncensored. I’m your host, Chris Chappell. The Chinese Communist Party has a secret weapon to use against countries it doesn’t like. No, it’s not the new hypersonic waverider
missile. This weapon involves completely different
kind of wave rider… Chinese tourists! The Communist Party’s weaponization of tourism
means using the massive flow of Chinese tourists… …and all the money they spend shopping… as a way to punish other countries for not following the Party line. The most recent country to get walloped? The Pacific island nation of Palau. Palau is here. Wait, zoom in. Palau is here. Um… keep zooming in. There it is. Palau is here. This country is so small, that when they were having their flag designed, they could only afford the basic package. Not to say Palau isn’t a beautiful tropical
paradise. It is! It’s also one of only 17 countries in the
world that still have diplomatic relations with
Taiwan. That is, they recognize Taiwan’s Republic
of China government as the legitimate government of all of China. Obviously, the Chinese Communist Party does
not like this. So they’ve hit Palau with what amounts to
a partial travel ban. They’re doing this by refusing to give Palau “Approved Destination Status,” or ADS. I know, ADS doesn’t sound like something
you necessarily want someone to give you. But it’s actually a seal of approval that
allows mainland Chinese travel agencies to book group tours
there. Without ADS, tourists can still visit, but only if they book travel on their own. And among Chinese travelers, big group tours are still way more popular. Palau actually never had ADS, but Chinese travel agencies were booking tours
to Palau anyway. You know, because laws in China…eh… That is, until last year, when the Chinese
regime cracked down— by sending a letter to all Chinese travel
agencies, reminding them specifically that it’s against
the law to book tour groups to Palau. And then the number of Chinese tourists in
Palau plummeted— from 87,000 in 2015, to 58,000 in 2017. While those figures may not sound like much, about half of Palau’s tourists come from
Mainland China, and about half the country’s GDP comes from
tourism. So those falling numbers are actually a pretty big deal for Palau. Palau Pacific Airways, which once claimed
to be “the best choice to get from Hong Kong to
Palau,” announced that it was shutting down—for
good. Manipulating tourism is one of many tactics
of statecraft used by the Chinese Communist Party, according to this recent report called “China’s Use of Coercive Economic Measures.” The report says that over the past few years, the Party has perfected the art of weaponizing
tourism, cutting off the flow of tourist dollars as a tactic to punish countries that refuse to do its bidding. And the authors of the report warn: Y ou ain’t seen nothin yet. You see, Chinese tourists spend more than
tourists from any other country in the world, and those expenditures are growing. According to a study by Nielsen, in 2016, Chinese tourists traveled overseas 120 million
times, and spent more than 260 billion dollars during
those trips. And most of what they spent those billions
on, is shopping. Obviously for countries that host Chinese
tourists, that kind of cash is nice to have. I mean, even Newark, New Jersey is getting in on the action. So the Chinese Communist Party has learned to exploit that tourism. Back in 2012, when Chinese and Filipino ships first clashed over disputed waters in the
South China Sea, China retaliated by issuing travel warnings
to discourage Chinese tourists from visiting the Philippines. And it had a huge impact in some parts of
the country. But lately, the new president Rodrigo Duterte has decided to get all buddy-buddy with China… …and the tourism floodgates have opened
again. Duterte has achieved this partly by backing
down over claims in the South China Sea, and making *hilarious* jokes like, the Philippines ought to just be a province
of China. Ha. Ha. And presto! Within a few months, the number of Chinese tourists grew by 40
percent! And it could double by the end of the year. Then there’s the troublesome totally-not-a-country of Taiwan. Under Taiwan’s previous president, China-Taiwan ties got warmer and warmer— culminating in a historic, but also super awkward-looking, meeting between the two leaders. And tourism from China skyrocketed. But the new president of Taiwan since 2016
has been a real Negative Nancy towards the Communist
Party. She’s repeatedly referred to Taiwan as a
country— which the Chinese Communist Party considers just a stone’s throw from declaring independence. And within seven months of her election, tourism from mainland China was down 36 percent— mostly because of pressure on travel agencies
from, you guessed it, the Chinese Communist Party. Then there’s South Korea. In 2017, South Korea deployed an American-made anti-missile defence system known as THAAD. It’s officially designed to intercept missiles from North Korea, but it could also stop missiles from, really, any aggressive communist neighbor. And this was not lost on Chinese leaders, who’ve hated THAAD from the get-go. Within a month of deployment, tour groups from China to Korea dropped to
nearly zero, as this graph shows. And individual tourism from China fell by
about half. Cuts to tourism cost South Korea more than 15 billion dollars and four hundred thousand
jobs. So for countries like the Philippines, Taiwan, and South Korea, tourism manipulation is a hard thing to fight
against. You either play by the Communist Party’s
rules, or suffer the consequences. But then again, maybe fewer group tours— and the trampling masses they bring— isn’t always bad. Back to the Pacific paradise of Palau. It already had to close down its iconic Jellyfish
Lake… …because of too many careless tourists. And recently, Palau has decided to shift from mass tourism to what it calls “high yield, low impact”
tourism: That is, higher spending tourists who are more environmentally conscious. I guess they want tourists from Northern California. Meanwhile, the president of Palau is showing no signs of caving to the Chinese
Communist Party— no matter what happens with tourism. Perhaps other countries might consider taking a page from Palau’s playbook. So what do you think about China’s weaponization
of tourism as a foreign policy tool? Leave your comments below. And before you go, it’s that time when I answer a question
from a supporter who contributes to China Uncensored through
Patreon, our crowdfunding website. “Where do you see the future of Taiwan? Reunification with mainland China, or an UN-recognized sovereign nation?” Wow, Gorden. That’s a tough question. I think that—so long as the Communist Party
rules China— we won’t see either unification with China or UN recognition of Taiwan. The more the Chinese regime threatens Taiwan, and the more the Chinese regime takes away the rights of the citizens in its supposedly
independent regions of Hong Kong and Macau, the less Taiwanese people want to be unified
under that system. So even if economic ties deepen, Taiwan will resist actual unification. At the same time, if Taiwan were to officially declare independence, it could push the Chinese regime to invade, thus starting start World War III. Or China’s threats could all be a big bluff, and they won’t do anything. The key here is: NOBODY KNOWS! That’s why I think the most likely scenario
is: Taiwan will stay in its current, awkward limbo indefinitely. The other possibility—and this is small— is that the United States will change half
a century of China policy and decide to recognize both China and Taiwan as separate countries. Because if the US does it, the rest of the world will follow suit. Now that’s not very likely, but we do have a president who might just
do it. With Trump, you never know. Thanks for your question, Gorden. And to everyone else, be like Gorden and support China Uncensored with a dollar or more per episode. Click the link below and visit our crowdfunding page on Your support keeps the show going, since YouTube ad revenue has dwindled. Thanks for watching this episode of China
Uncensored. I’m Chris Chappell. See you next time. Thanks for watching. Click this orange button to support China
Uncensored on the crowdfunding website Patreon. Your support makes a huge difference. Thank you so much.

100 thoughts on “How China Uses Tourism as a Weapon

  1. CCP uses the same method vs Okinawa, Japan where US military is based. I mean CCP is in the phase of increasing massive number of tourists to Okinawa by increasing direct airlines. They do this via interfering the Okinawa Governor’s election. CCP’s final objectives is to kick out US military there. They are well preparing for a travel ban sometime in the future. They even say “Okinawa belongs to China since ancient times”.

  2. Not a weapon la. Actually too many choices open to China and they welcome Chinese to go there as tourists. So, why we have to go somewhere unfriendly to us. Chinese love mutual respects. Mutual understanding are important. Don’t make cultural difference as an excuse to criticise and create tension among peoples.

  3. Palau should not have to rely on China to keep its economy afloat. Palau signed the Compact of Free Association Agreement with the United Staes, which means that America is obligated to provide economic support to Palau. The United States must support its allies no matter what.

  4. Indonesia is looking to get rid of Chinese mass tour groups. They only spend minimal amounts and usually stay within the group. They too are looking to just go for high value tourists.

  5. South china sea, Senkaku Islands, Taiwan, Tibet, Arunachal Pradesh, Australia ? Really what is their endgame. The establishment of the superstate of an Orwellian East Asia ? Does their Greed and Arrogance know no Bounds ?

  6. For me, it is not so proper to say the consequences before the cause, or the cause after the consequences. Which I mean is that the Chinese tourists were not forced by the government to travel there, but they traveled there willingly. Nobody has considered the potential drawback of such massive tourism like that. However, the tourist’s country did earn a huge amount of money and benefits from those massive tourism. It was better to have them than not to have them from the beginning.

  7. I just hate China's greediness. 😣 sadly we Filipino's can't do anything against them since we are threatened by possible war outbreak. Tsk.

  8. No gigantic tour from China is that really a bad thing? They have time to clean up with environment market to other country. Tourism should not be business plan for a whole county.

  9. Here in Taiwan – good riddance. The Chinese tourists didn't bring much benefit to an average Taiwanese anyway, but what a nuisance they were!

  10. It would be interesting if you make a video on IP (intellectual property) and how the Chinese companies are avoiding it without consequences

  11. Duh. The idea is to make foreign countries reticent to strain relations (read: be assertive against unfair chinese trading), by making them somewhat dependent on Chinese tourism revenue. Personally, I would ban all Chinese entries and do no trading with China whatsoever, but that's just me.

  12. Isn't China spending money at other countries a good thing? If they weaponized their consumers than that is the most hilarious asymmetrical diplomatic strategy I have ever seen. More countries should act like that, and if the Americans even had 1% of the courage to do exactly what the Chinese are able to do, than we can really start putting the pressure on the Chinese economic machine. Imagine Americans who stop buying "made in China", but nope, we are too much in bed with China and don't have enough balls to do what is needed. We rather rely on our government to get the job done, when we as consumers play the largest part in making China what it is today.

  13. Chinese tourists are the worst. Loud, always smoking in huge packs, leaving garbage everywhere, and still thinking they're better than everyone else

  14. Is it the Chinese people's problem when everyone wants their cash? Can't the government of a country ban travel agents from going to a certain place, for whatever reason?

  15. Anyone who's experienced Chinese tourism knows it's a dilemma. I mean what's worse having Chinese tourists or not. It's a choice between a rock and a hard place…

  16. I subscribed this channel to see how peeps to see the other side of China, yes there are tons of problems out there, terrible tourists, terrible policies,etc.
    As a Chinese studies abroad, I know these problems and go on just complain,coz I have these issues too, Chinese tourist cuts the line, China bans this bans that, this country , some people don't care about our options that much.
    U can shit anything on these coz every other Chinese do it,too.
    BUT I saw some of these comments, Chinese are the worst, Chinese tourists are pieces of shit, have you even consider another amount of Chinese who really behave and try to change your stereotypes of us? Just deny us all and be incel racists don't make your race better, it makes you worse !

  17. Taiwan is part of China and we support against independence. Stupid Taiwanese people because they support independence.

  18. I was looking for solution but i got nothing now i realised. Why china annexed uighuristan and tibet it is just a stage to invade india thats why lost aksai chin thats why they attacked arunachal our security is jeopardised the coup d etat in nepal is orchestrated by china commies i cannot become a refugee but i need to stand for my nation.

  19. I am glad that as an American, I am free to move about or leave the country without so much as a passport and airfare. My decisions to travel have been influenced by the State Dept’s travel advisories, recommended vaccinations and visa requirements of foreign nations.
    Traveling to China means I would need additional vaccines for Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis A and typhoid, for good measure. I also need a basic lesson in cultural differences so I can get along well and abide laws there. I would make arrangements with trustworthy people there since most of the internet would be unusable and I could face severe discrimination for being a foreigner. Only then would I get a visa to travel there.
    Taiwan, on the other hand, is passport only, traveler friendly, has western internet access and accommodations at affordable prices.
    Is it wrong for a country guide its citizens on potential travel destinations based on safety and even political agenda? I think not.

    Does the ROC rule all of mainland China? No, that claim is ridiculous and needs to be dropped officially before moving forward with any sovereign nation declaration. It would also help if Taiwan had some nukes before fully declaring independence. In the last referendum the people of Taiwan did not vote down nuclear power. That could also be because people want to use air conditioners in summer without triggering brownouts and destroying the atmosphere.
    We all like to see countries flourishing, especially when their style of government mirrors our own. Taiwanese rule is for the people of Taiwan to decide, and I support their decision either way while knowing it could cost lives of American servicemen and women in a potential war nobody wants.

  20. Isn’t that what a powerful country is supposed to do in order to conquer the world?… just like USA has done the last century?.

  21. This channel is funded by US AID or the State Department. Give Taiwan nukes and that will end all of the One China talk.

  22. CHINESE turist are employed by the BIGGEST NIGHTMARE FOR HUMANITY including animals the Chinese GOVERNMENT propaganda this is a NIGHTMARE FOR owners of hotels, restaurants, or any other business because the F.chinase kind of force the countries to fix the hotels and buy furniture ,food and paint walls, doors and everything should be just for CHINESE turist?????🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔so these countries spend lots and lots of money and if for any reason the countries dosen't do want China wants then they stop sending employees???(CHINESE turist)?????🤔🤔🤔🤔😡😡😡👺👹💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕🖕THIS IS A NIGHTMARE GIGANTIC NIGHTMARE, THE TURIST TRAMP, and if these countries are o.k.then the Chinese GOVERNMENT owned all the turist places like restaurants, or jet ski resorts,etc.etc.100% China business SPECIALY in Africa, also they have control of prostitutes, alcohol, drugs, medicines, tilapia fish from the south China sea.

  23. lol, the Chinese may spend a lot, but, and I see it here all the time these large groups being taken to Chinese owned businesses and the money just goes back to China (btw I am talking about Australia).

  24. When CCP stopped Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan, our scenic sites got cleaner without Chinese! Ask the Swedish.

  25. OK, those tourists look like they couldn't have been able to afford these trips to these exotic far away locations. Is the group tourism package state sponsored?
    Are the tourists mainly family of Chinese civil servants?

  26. Everything possible should be done to encourage Chinese travel abroad including reversing hostile foreign policies. The Chinese people need to see what a healthy democracy can be, and the citizens of democracies need to see what kind of citizens a communist authoritarian government produces. The flow of capital out of China will weaken the communist state and hasten its eventual downfall.

  27. GROUP / PACKAGED TOURS: The Chinese and Japanese like to travel like this. Could never understand why you would want to travel in a 'cultural bubble', which essentially insulates you from the travel experience. Whereas, I like to travel alone; go when and where I like. And, being solo encourages you to interact more with the natives.

  28. LIVING IN A 'GLASS HOUSE': Who are we to judge, as the US government strong arms countries with crippling banking sanctions.

  29. alternate history, America teams up with axis powers and completely wipes out communism in russia and therefore across the world. That would be interesting.

  30. The Philippine president just gave his country away to the Chinese communist party. He made his own people slaves to the CCP.

  31. You know what?!…fuck it! I recognise Taiwan and Tibet independent countries…(China can't touch me in India….right?)

  32. It's actually a punishment in itself to have tons of Chinese tourists. They come in huge groups and destroy everything. Just ask Thailand. Chinese tourists alone caused Phi Phi Island to be shut down for environmental restoration because of all the trash and littering on the beach.

  33. I was playing on my Playstation, I decided to take a break and smoke a cigarette, maybe watch some China uncensored… Good show mate (:

  34. If anything, it seems like a good idea to just ban Chinese tourists to your country. You get rid of the Mainland Chinese who are famous for vandalizing historical sites, and the PRC cannot take away what you don`t let in, in the first place.

  35. I’m impressed with Palau President….I would support Palau tourism if they will not have any unruly Mainland China tourist! 👍

  36. Nasty chinese government (the people are beautiful). It's actually not bad, coz' other tourists from other countries are replacing the group tour chinese which makes the resorts more peaceful.

    God bless, Proverbs 31

  37. It's about time for the Republic of China to formally recognize the existence of the People's Republic of China (Communist China) as another independent country, like it already did for Mongolia. The earth resources are limited, don't waste more resources on another ugly struggle over political power!

  38. I am Taiwanese. Most of the people in Taiwan are pretty happy Chinese tourism has declined. Due to the fact that Chinese tourists are mostly lousy, senseless, and most of the profit goes back to Chinese agencies anyways.

  39. can't we as the rest of the world not just decide to declare china & taiwan 2 separate countries and let the taiwan gov gov taiwan?

  40. For us Filipinos it's not problem Chinese flocking to the Philippines as tourist and laborers as long as they won't stay or hide from immigration department and do illigal activities such as manufacturing illegal drugs. We are known to accept refugees such as Israelites during the time of holocaust, Russians and Vietnamese. But please don't abuse our kindness.

  41. why dont other countries ever turn the tables on China? I wish, pray, hope and dream of a USA free of all Chinese Nationals. Sucking up our great knowledge and going back to the land of QIN and then turn the tables on the WEST! ONE day a true utopia of a West free of ants. And I always do my part to make their visit a living hell. good day

  42. This is another weapon , and serious concerns Death by 1000 cuts . But they aren't facist they are more socialist .

  43. Not anymore, Palau will become a garbage dump, when the Chinese come. Fucking money money money, you print the shit, every country prints their own money, you don’t need fucking China, long live Taiwan.

  44. No Chinese tourists? Hmmmm, less shit and spit in the airplane isles, less shit and spit on the pavements, less shit and spit in the shopping centres, less shit and spit at tourist attractions, less shit and spit missing the toilet ………………………………………. Next episode we will cover rudeness, noise, trampling flower beds, eating like pigs at buffets, etc.

    Yeah, we sure are gonna miss them.

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