Train seat squatters draw public ire in China

Zhou (L) and Sun (R) Photo: Baidu

Rule-breaking passengers on trains have recently sparked heated discussions in China's online community.
On September 19, a woman surnamed Zhou took a window seat on the high-speed train G6078 from Yongzhou, Central China's Hunan Province, to Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, and refused to vacate it to the passenger who was assigned that seat.
When an attendant asked her to move, she replied, "The ticket says my seat is 10D, but it doesn't say 10D is not the window seat," adding, "Who said I cannot sit here? I bought the ticket."
Their dialogue was recorded on video and immediately triggered an uproar and condemnation online after being posted on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service.
The Hengyang railway police said the following day that Zhou had broken the Public Order Management and Punishment Law by disturbing order on public transportation and was fined 200 yuan (about $29).
Zhou's case reminded many of a man surnamed Sun, who was found to be sitting in someone else's seat on the high-speed train G334 running from Jinan, East China's Shandong Province, to Beijing on August 21. Sun was similarly fined 200 yuan and put on the high-speed railway blacklist.
The problem of occupying someone else's eat is not confined to the Chinese people. Some foreign visitors are also guilty of ignoring the rules.  
On September 23, a woman on K8482 train running from Shanghai to Fuyang, East China's Anhui Province, took another passenger's seat and sprinkled water on those who attempted to videotape her behavior.
"Those who break rules should not escape a penalty," the People's Daily, a mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), said in a commentary on its official Weibo account, adding "law enforcers still have much to do to remind people never to break rules."
Shanghai-based news website thepaper.cn also called for immediate police intervention in such cases.
"Next time — if similar things happen — the police should intervene on time, instead of waiting until the incident ended, because rule-breakers not only violate the rights of the legal passengers, but also challenge the normal order of the trains in operation. A quick response is needed to deal with such cases," it said in an editorial.
Many netizens said the punishment was too lenient to deter bad behavior and called on the railway bureau to blacklist passengers like Zhou and ban them from taking all kinds of public transportation.
Some even suggested relevant departments lower the credit rating of rule-breaking people and prevent them from taking loans from banks.

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