CHINA stamps out bad habits

BEIJING (北京) has banned ‘uncivilised behaviour’, such as not covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, in a new set of regulations to improve public hygiene amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The laws aim to promote ‘civilised behaviour’ and relate to combating the pandemic which has infected more than 82,000 in China alone.

Rule breakers will be slapped with fines for offenses including not wearing a mask in public when ill, the municipal government said on its website.

The laws also require public places to set up one-metre distance markers and to provide communal chopsticks and serving spoons for shared meals.

Citizens must also “dress neatly” in public and not go shirtless – an apparent reference to the so-called ‘Beijing bikini’, where men roll up t-shirts to expose their stomachs in hot weather.

The state-run Global Times said the rule equalled a “total ban” of the practice in public places.

Beijing already discourages a range of ‘uncivilised’ behaviours including public spitting, littering, walking dogs unleashed and throwing things from high buildings.

But the latest rules – passed on 24 April– outline new specific punishments. Fines for littering, spitting and defecation in public have been, for example, upped to a maximum of 200 yuan (HK$218) from a previous upper limit of 50 yuan.

In the past, these regulations were enforced in a patchwork fashion and habits were not stamped out completely.

Civic Party lawmaker and doctor Kwok Ka-ki (郭家麒) said such laws are not necessarily applicable to Hong Kong as he believed most Hongkongers are self-conscious.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 5 May 2020)


Beijing legislates to promote civil behaviour

Hong Kong public hygiene