The Nanfang / Blog

German man beaten up in McDonald’s for confronting queue jumper

Posted: 10/31/2013 7:00 am

A German man was beaten up after confronting a queue jumper in a McDonald’s in Guangzhou in the small hours of August 24, Huadu District Prosecutor’s Office has been told.

The incident took place in the McDonald’s in the Vanguard supermarket complex on Yunshan Boulevard in Huadu. When the German confronted a Mr. Huang about cutting in line, Huang allegedly spat on the floor. The German then called over a waiter to clean it up.

After finishing his meal, the German stepped out of the McDonald’s and was set upon by Huang and three of his associates. Another German man was injured after stepping in to mediate. Both were taken to hospital but their injuries turned out to be minor.

Huang and his three associates were arrested in Qishan Village on Sept. 13, according to Southern Metropolis Daily.

Uncivilised behaviour such as that shown by Huang is being targeted under Shenzhen’s civility laws that were introduced this year. But in most of the country it is still up to members of the public to keep each other in line. This is not the first time a foreigner has got himself beaten up for taking exception to the unruly behaviour of Chinese locals.


Shenzhen finding new ways to keep streets clean: now building public toilets for pets

Posted: 01/30/2013 7:00 am

An activity was held to promote “the civilized raising of pets” in Dongmen Cultural Square in Shenzhen’s Luohu District Monday. At the meeting, it was declared that Luohu District would lead the way in building public toilets for pets to help keep the streets clean, Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reports.

The paper revealed that the district has already built 80 of the toilets and has so far installed 30 for a trial period. The drive started at the end of last year ahead of the city’s new civility laws coming into effect.

Each toilet will have an area of about 1 square metre and be located on the greenbelts by the sides of roads and in parks.

By the end of this year, the district hopes to have over 1,000 of the toilets.

As always, netizens reactions were mixed. One Sina Weibo user resented having his tax money used to help dog owners. Another said the reason why there was so much dog feces on the streets was that dog owners were all selfish and immoral. Another supported the move but hoped that dog owners would have the consideration to cooperate.


Shenzhen to unveil civility laws, do you think they’ll be effective? We asked some expats

Posted: 01/28/2013 7:00 am

After Beijing Cream reported that new civility laws would be introduced in Shenzhen March 1, The Nanfang asked several expats for their thoughts on the laws. Below we recount some of the most interesting responses.

As explained by Shenzhen Daily, the laws will mean that ten types of uncivilized behaviour, including spitting, littering, and smoking in non-smoking areas, will be punishable by a fine, the size of which will be at the discretion of the law enforcement officer. Violators will also have the option to apply for community service to offset up to half of the fine.

Concerns raised about the laws included whether it was right to try to change a culture through law; whether they could be enforced effectively; whether they don’t go far enough (for example, allowing your child to go to the bathroom on the street is not included); and whether law enforcers would abuse the power they were given.

Alex Hoopes, a 26 year-old executive assistant from the United States does not see Shenzhen succeeding in enforcing the laws: “I remember Beijing made a big deal about cleaning itself up in preparation for the Olympics, and had subsidies from the national government to boot, yet today there’s just as much litter, spitting, and public smoking as there was before.”

Hoopes thinks instead of underpaidĀ chengguan (urban administrators) taking action, individuals should take a stand against behaviour they consider inappropriate. If people know there is a stigma attached to what they are doing, then they will stop doing it, according to Hoopes.

Charles Kirtley, a retired businessman from the United States, opposes the laws. He once wrote an opinion piece in Shenzhen Daily titled “Let China be China,” expressing the view that the sight of people smoking in non-smoking areas is part of what makes China distinct.

The same goes for other types of “uncivilized behaviour,” said Kirtley: “I don’t believe seeing a child piss on the sidewalk does me any harm.”

Bar owner Dave Seymour has seen a marked improvement in public behaviour in his more than seven years in China. He welcomes the laws as he is personally annoyed by the types of behaviour targeted by the laws, but he does not see them being effectively enforced.

He also fears that chengguan will find it easier to target violators for who 100 RMB is a lot of money: “I think if some migrant construction worker covered in grime from working his ass off spits and tosses his baozi bag on the sidewalk, the chengguan will be all over him. If a guy in a huge black SUV spits out his window, and throws his KFC garbage out his window, they’ll just pretend they didn’t see anything.”

One school of thought on the subject of civility is that it is a middle-class value, so we need to wait until the majority of Shenzhen residents can be considered middle-class.

Miles Alberto, a project manager from the Philippines who resides in Shenzhen, disagrees with this and supports the laws. Being from a developing country, she does not see poverty as any excuse to behave in an uncivilized manner, and has observed that many Chinese people’s behaviour has not improved along with increased wealth.

She was also incensed by the fact that people allowing their children to go to the bathroom on the street was not being targeted.

Other opinions expressed to The Nanfang included that of singer Gary Hurlstone who thinks that the laws should focus more on the behaviour that damages other people’s health such as smoking indoors and spitting.

So, what do you think?

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