2019-08-06 11:51:58  + video 

In an effort to civilize the city, authorities in Beijing have issued a survey seeking residents’ opinions on desirable versus undesirable behaviors — along with suitable punishments for the latter.

Released Monday, the survey will remain open to the public for 20 days, and the responses collected will be considered for future policies.

Participating residents are asked to select 10 out of 20 “uncivilized behaviors” — including spitting in public, petty vandalism, and cutting in line — that they believe are most deserving of punishment. Here’s a closer look at five more distasteful deeds included on the list:

Boisterous square dancers

To China’s city-dwelling denizens, groups of retirees in matching outfits occupying public spaces and dancing in perfect synchrony are a common sight, especially during the waning hours of the day. But this seemingly benign pastime has also been criticized as a source of noise pollution, with some residents complaining about the blaring music disturbing their otherwise tranquil households.

In February 2017, the Beijing government announced that square dancing troupes found to be disturbing their neighbors would receive formal warnings — or even fines of up to 500 yuan ($70) in the case of repeat offenders. Some creative communities have coped with the problem by issuing headphones to the dance groups, turning their evening plaza prances into silent discos.

Authorities in Beijing are surveying residents on “undesirable behaviors” and how they should be punished. The public’s feedback will be considered for future policies. By Lu Yunwen/Sixth Tone

Sun’s out, guts out

One of the most fascinating fashion phenomena in China can be observed each summer in sweltering cities, where men’s shirts seem to rise along with the mercury to expose ample paunches.

In July, authorities in the eastern city of Shandong followed in the footsteps of another city, Tianjin, and announced that they would be cracking down on the so-called Beijing bikini, with punishments ranging from verbal warnings to public shaming.

Now, Beijing appears to be mulling whether its own namesake fashion trend should be covered up for good.

Who let the dogs out… unleashed?

Dog ownership is on the rise in China, yet many pet owners are less than diligent when it comes to using a leash. According to Monday’s survey, Beijing authorities are considering punishing people who don’t clean up after their pooches or keep them leashed in public.

Rabies is a major public health concern in China, where 12 to 16 million people are vaccinated against the virus each year. As such, some people don’t take kindly to unleashed dogs — or to being chastised for not using leash. Last November, a dog owner in Shanghai punched a woman who had used her foot to shoo away his unleashed dog. And in July, police detained a man in the southern Guangdong province for beating a golden retriever to death after the animal attacked and killed his unleashed poodle.

Two people walk past a wall warning against spitting in public, Shanghai, 2003. VCG

Two people walk past a wall warning against spitting in public, Shanghai, 2003. VCG

Clean plate, clean conscience

As anyone who’s ever eaten a large, family-style meal the country can tell you, Chinese people’s eyes tend to be larger than their stomachs. But that may change some day, with Monday’s survey listing wasting food as a potential uncivilized behavior.

In 2013, a Beijing-based nonprofit launched a conservation-minded campaign called “Clear Your Plate.” Today, the campaign’s page on microblogging platform Weibo has over 60,000 followers and boasts dozens of photos of people showing off their spotless dishes.

The campaign exists for good reason. According to a 2018 study by the World Wide Fund for Nature, the average Chinese urbanite wastes around 12% of each meal, or 93 grams of food. Of the four cities surveyed, people in Chengdu wasted the most food at 103 grams per meal, while Beijingers wasted the least at 77 grams.

Delinquent waste-sorters

Beijing is slated to follow in Shanghai’s footsteps and implement a compulsory citywide waste-sorting policy by 2020. For now, though, regulations are being rolled out on a smaller scale — in certain districts and public areas such as schools, hospitals, office buildings, and tourist sites, according to the city’s deputy mayor. The Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Management classifies waste into four categories: food waste, general waste, recyclables, and hazardous materials.

As in Shanghai, authorities in the capital have opted for the carrot-and-stick approach to enforcing trash-sorting regulations. Residents who flout the rules may have their social credit scores docked or be fined up to 200 yuan, while those who sort their garbage correctly are rewarded with points that can be redeemed for household goods like toilet paper, seasonings, trash bags, and kitchen knives.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated which dog was unleashed in the July altercation between the golden retriever and the poodle.

Editor: David Paulk.

(Header image: An unleashed dog walks through a park in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Nov. 12, 2018. Xie Jidong/Southern Metropolis Daily/VCG)