Minding Their Manners In Beijing

It's China's first time hosting the world and leaders and locals alike don't want anything to tarnish their pride in China's progress.

Traditional music reigned over Beijing's parks until the city's Olympic cheerleaders arrived -- determined to teach everyone the "proper" way to behave when the games begin.

"Before, if the athletes were not doing well, people would throw things at them and scold them," coach Zhang Shouzhen tells CBS' Celia Hatton. "We taught them not to do that."

Officials worry China has a bad rep for bad manners, so after winning the bid for the Olympic games, authorities began revamping Beijing's citizens as well as its skyline.

Kids who weren't even born when Beijing won the games are being subject to the manners campaigns too, learning to give up their bus seats to elderly Olympic tourists.

All of these lessons are much more than child's play. Beijing authorities say it's vital that residents learn to stand in lines and stop spitting in the street.

Michael Meyer lives in one of Beijing's traditional neighborhoods and has witnessed the government's attempts to create model citizens.

"So one campaign was about polite words, OK? That in Beijing, when a car is approaching, you shouldn't yell 'Look out for that car!' You should say 'excuse me, a car is approaching,'" says the author of "The Last Days of Old Beijing."

English has received the biggest push. Beijing's cabbies received free language lessons in hopes that when tourists arrive, the Great Wall will be the only barrier they encounter.

Even if all the cab drivers in Beijing haven't become fluent, Hatton says they've still been subject to a makeover; all of the city's 100,000 taxi drivers have uniforms for the Olympics.

These individual efforts might seem trivial, but this is China's first time hosting the world and leaders and locals alike don't want anything to tarnish their pride in China's progress.

"That's the change here now -- it's that it really feels to people here like "we matter too" and people are going to come and look at our city," Meyer says.

Back at the park, the elderly dancers are teaching cheerleaders some things of their own, confident that what has made China special all along will shine through.

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