Jinan, the capital of Shandong province in eastern China, has issued a notice banning men from exposing their bellies in public, even as temperatures soared to a high of 38 deg C last Tuesday and the hot spell looks unlikely to be over soon.
In the name of maintaining the city’s image, officials are also going after those who commit any of a long list of transgressions, including taking off one’s shoes in public to air the feet, spitting, littering, quarrelling or shouting in public, queue-cutting, lighting up in non-smoking areas, lying down on public benches and hanging their clothes in public places.
Party cadres and government officials should especially “demonstrate by example”, the notice says.
Baring body parts seems to be particularly objectionable; the coastal city of Tianjin outlawed toplessness in March. The act attracts a fine of up to 200 yuan (S$40), as does cutting queue or grabbing seats on buses and trains.
Tourists from China have sullied the country’s image by urinating in public, destroying ancient relics and leaving rubbish behind – enough for the country’s tourism administration to issue a 64-page Guidebook For Civilised Tourism in 2013, and a public blacklist in 2016 of those who behaved badly.
Within the country, local governments have launched various campaigns. Last year, the city of Suqian in Jiangsu province handed out an updated set of etiquette guidelines that included: Don’t wear pyjamas in public, and let others out of elevators before you get in.
Beijing and Shanghai also launched major offensives to promote civility in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics and 2010 World Expo, respectively, such as getting people to queue up, not to spit, and refrain from pushing and shoving.