The scene is even more charged with emotion in Hong Kong, where mainland Chinese tourists face harsh resentment for a number of issues. Clashes between locals and tourists on public transportation and in restaurants have been caught on video, rapidly gone viral on the Internet and are regular press fodder.
Hong Kong Airlines has even taught its cabin crew kung fu to deal with drunken passengers flying to and from the mainland in light of what it says are continuous issues.
Dr. Yong Chen of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, who specializes in Chinese outbound tourism, says all the bad press needs to be taken in context, given how many mainlanders are heading south of the border.
"There were 48 million tourists who came to Hong Kong last year and more than 70 percent of them were Chinese tourists," he says.
"There's no other country with such a high market share in the world."
When posted on the Internet, small, individual problems, like shouting matches on subway trains, have a way of transcending borders.
"Travel is a way of communication between cultures," he says. "Tourism will help people to get better and learn. It's a new experience for them."
Liu Zhen-xiu, a mother from Tianjin visiting Hong Kong with her young daughter, says she notices the resentment.
"We usually stay in five-star hotels, so people in the service industry of course have to be polite and friendly to us," she says.
"I haven't gotten into a situation where I was treated differently or rudely, but I can feel that local people do not welcome mainland tourists."
Learning global cultures
Fauna (who didn't want her last name published) is the founder of popular English-language blog ChinaSMACK, which analyzes and translates online reaction to popular news stories in China.
Responses to stories of Chinese behaving badly while traveling are mixed among China's online community, she says.
"If the focus is on the behavior of the mainland tourist, usually the reaction from mainland Chinese netizens is embarrassment," she says.
"If the focus is on criticisms of mainland Chinese by Hong Kong people or foreigners, then often there is defensiveness -- but also a lot of embarrassment -- and counter-criticism."
Zhang has a similar view, noting that the younger generation and wealthier Chinese are usually unhappy with those who damage the image of Chinese travelers worldwide.
"On the other hand, there is this strong sense of patriotism and a bit of insecurity about our national identity," she says.
"If a non-Chinese points fingers at this kind of behavior, almost all Chinese feel very defensive. They will say, 'That's racist against Chinese.'
"There's the idea that, 'It's my dirty laundry, I know it's smelly and it's OK for me to criticize it, but it's not OK for you to say anything.'"
Zhang says it will take time for attitudes to change, as more Chinese grow accustomed to global cultures.
Naicy Zhang, a Chinese tourist visiting Hong Kong from Dongguan, agrees.
"People are generally helpful, but I know there are differences in cultures between Chinese tourists and others," she says.
"The people here in Hong Kong, for example, are more polite and self-disciplined, they queue up for everything. But in China, no one will ever queue up and they will fight for things. If you wait, you will be left with nothing.
"It's true that Chinese tourists may not understand the local rules and customs in the beginning and make mistakes. But we will learn."