Don’t Spit on the Street in China if You’re Poor

From the UK Times:

The ubiquitous habit of spitting in China has defeated virtually every effort the authorities have made to stamp it out — from public information campaigns to fines.

Now, in a renewed push to curb the practice, one local administration is threatening serial offenders with eviction.

Under a new scheme introduced at a government-subsidised housing complex in the southern city of Guangzhou, residents have been told that they could forfeit their homes if they are repeatedly caught spitting or dropping cigarette ends.

A proposed penalty system has been designed to “build a civilised, hygienic, safe and harmonious community environment”, the Guangzhou Land Resources and Management Bureau said on its website.

Residents would be penalised on a points system and rack up three points if caught seven times committing any of a series of minor offences which include spitting.

More serious transgressions, such as unsafe storage of “flammable, explosive, poisonous, radioactive and other hazardous materials”, carry heavier point penalties. Residents who accumulate more than 20 points in a two-year period would be evicted.

A spokeswoman for the local housing authority said that the points system followed constant reports of unsanitary conditions and robberies in public housing neighbourhoods.

Spitting has proved almost impossible to halt in China. In the run-up to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing imposed hefty fines of 50 yuan (£5) for anyone caught expectorating on the street, a sum equivalent to a day’s wages for a university graduate.

Officials even promised to provide paper bags and tissues for anyone needing to spit and some civic-minded students took to the streets to police the programme voluntarily.

The state media hailed the campaign as a success, saying that the number of people spitting had fallen sharply.

Spitting still remains a widespread habit in much of China, however. The streets of Beijing are spattered with blobs of spittle and the sound of hawking is to be heard on every street corner.

The plan has already run into opposition, amid allegations that it discriminates against the poor.

The local New Express Daily said that if it was the duty of the government to provide housing to lower income people, then it should not abandon that responsibility simply because of the moral level of tenants.

The idea has similarly upset some in China’s increasingly vocal online community. One web user on popular portal sina.com.cn said: “What if a rich person did all these things?”

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One thought on “Don’t Spit on the Street in China if You’re Poor

  1. damn this is insane! fine for spitting!
    tho i gotta say NYC needs some kinda tax — i don’t like seeing a frozen lugi on the sidewalk——its disgusting!!!!!
    I don’t like seeing it frozen or liquid – do that shit on the street gawd damit.

    Like

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