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The anti spitting law in China

While I was browsing through my folders, I bumped into a picture I took during my stay in Shanghai in 2006 that made me rethink of the cultural differences between East and West. The picture, shown below, shows a sign of ‘No Spitting’, which prohibits people to spit.

Eventhough spitting for the Chinese goes back five millenia, it is now regarded by the government as an obnoxious habit, and needs to be eradicated. Despite continuous advise from medical staff, the fact that spitting in public was a health hazard really hit home when the SARS virus wreaked havoc in the country in 2003. Guangdong province then introduced campaigns on making public spitting illegal. Fines are now imposed in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. The anti-spitting drive also intensified before the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when the capital city devised a ‘No Spitting Day’ to eradicate a top etiquette no-no. But even with all that, the number of spitters remains very large.

No Spitting sign in Shanghai

No Spitting sign in Shanghai

Watch this 30 seconds rare footage of a Chinese anti-spitting campaign that dates back from the 1950s:

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* l’indiscretion > ils leur ont demande de ne pas poser des questions indiscretes aux touristes : points de vue politique, salaires, religions, vie sexuelle etc… car apparemment c’est une habitude la bas, sans vouloir etre mechant
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