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Smoking rules get tough in Shenzhen

Posted: 02/14/2014 11:11 am

Shenzhen is starting to take the lead in restricting smoking in public places. The city has released a list of venues where smoking will be completely banned starting in March, according to Xinhua.

According to a notice issued by Shenzhen Health and Family Planning Commission, smoking will be banned in all public government offices, meeting rooms of state organs, nurseries, kindergartens, schools, hospitals, libraries, archives, exhibition halls, science and technological museums, art galleries and other exhibition places, theatres, cinemas, parks, banks, shopping malls, hotels, restaurant, elevators (finally!) and exhibition centres.

While it might seem like common sense to ban smoking in places like kindergartens and nurseries, Shenzhen does plan to take this a step further in the future. The regulations point out that smoking will be “limited” in other venues such as bars and cafés, but not until 2016.

Home page photo credit: The Guardian


Factory in Dongguan puts cameras in the bathrooms to catch smokers

Posted: 11/14/2013 11:00 am

A factory worker in Dongguan has revealed that security cameras are used in the bathrooms at his work in an attempt to catch smokers. The factory has confirmed the claims, Shaanxi-based media have reported.

A security guard is sent around to do this, image courtesy of Nanfang Television.

Xiao Peng told reporters that if security cameras found him or one of his colleagues smoking in the bathroom, the foreman would be waiting at the door when they came out. If caught once they get a 500 yuan fine (the minimum wage in Dongguan is just over 1500 yuan a month), and if caught twice they get fired.

A representative of the factory explained that the premises had a designated smoking area, so workers should simply use that.

Philip Brown, a tenured Economics professor, lost his job at Colby College in Maine, USA after being caught filming female students in the bathroom during a trip to China. He was also labelled a pervert in international media.

Is this Dongguan factory really any better?


Shenzhen government proposes punishing “uncivilized” behaviour

Posted: 07/4/2012 7:00 am

Despite China’s 5,000 years of civilization, authorities in Shenzhen have decided that the public need yet more civilizing, according to local television. On June 1, members of the city’s Standing Committee met to discuss introducing punishments for 49 types of uncivilized behaviour, such as spitting, littering and smoking in public places.

Until July 6, citizens will be invited to give suggestions about what types of behaviour should be punished, and what appropriate punishments would be, Chinese-language media have reported.

The measures may be introduced throughout the country, and as always, Shenzhen is the guinea pig. There will be three polls before any laws are introduced. The first, which ends June 6, is aimed at receiving suggestions about which types of behaviour should be targeted, such as improper disposal of chewing gum, and throwing litter from vehicles or buildings. Forty-nine is the magic number, so there is plenty of room for people to have their pet peeves tackled.

Those of us who have a lot of experience in China know that tackling uncivilized behaviour here is a herculean task. On July 1, a man in Shandong Province embarrassed his fellow bus passengers when he castigated a migrant worker for smelling bad. Subways are also host to all kinds of inappropriate behaviour.

After last year’s earthquake in Japan, many Chinese observed the civility of the Japanese people and asked themselves why Chinese could not be that way.

So, which ill-mannered things would you want put a stop to?


Guangzhou may tighten smoking rules to make people butt out

Posted: 05/7/2012 4:02 pm

(Image from

It’s illegal to smoke indoors in Guangzhou, but we’ve all seen it: the niubi guy who puffs away anyway, with smoke wafting over to tables filled with non-smokers.

Currently in Guangzhou, police are ordered to issue a warning to anybody they find violating the city’s smoking by-law, but that could change soon.  China Daily confirmed that the city is studying dispensing with the whole warning thing, and instead reverting directly to an RMB50 fine.

The move makes some sense, as most smokers are likely aware that now, even if caught, they won’t get anything more than a little piece of paper with an official warning on it.  It’s not exactly a strong deterrent.

Smoking, as everybody knows, is still relatively common in bars, clubs, and restaurants across Guangzhou and the PRD even though it’s officially illegal.  China Daily says because of this, many in the City of Five Rams welcome the change:

Chen Wenjie, a Guangzhou office worker, said the draft is an improvement. “But a fine of only 50 yuan for smokers is still not severe enough to deter law breakers,” he said.

Wang Fangwei, a local housewife, said the draft amendment is good, but she does not think it could be fully carried out.

“Many law enforcement agencies in the city are lax on punishment in fighting illegal smoking,” she said.

Also, by the time enforcement authorities arrive, the smokers might have stopped because it takes only two to three minutes to finish a cigarette, she added.

She called for more concrete and effective measures, such as fining the operators of restaurants instead of smokers.

How effective has the current law been?  There have been 1,200 complaints about smoking in non-smoking areas in Guangzhou so far this year.  How many have been fined?  Exactly one.

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