Crackdown on ‘Chinese-Style Street Crossing’ in Zhejiang

Chinese traffic officials waging a public service campaign against pedestrians crossing streets during red lights.

Chinese traffic officials waging a public service campaign against pedestrians crossing streets during red lights.

From NetEase:

Zhejiang Has Punished Over 8000 Instances of Chinese-Style Street Crossings in 20 Days, With Many Unhappy People Attacking Traffic Police

According to Xinhua News Service, this reporter learned from the Zhejiang Province Department of Public Security that since Zhejiang province started cracking down and strictly punishing 8 types of serious traffic violations from March 1st onward, over 11,000 violations have been already been punished throughout the entire province, amongst which 8,283 were “Chinese-style street crossing” where violators cross during a red light.

"Chinese Style Street Crossing", describing phenomenon where Chinese pedestrians will cross a street as long as they are in a group regardless of whether or not the light is red.

Urban traffic and congestion control is the top priority amongst Zhejiang province’s 2013 Top 10 practical matters to be done in service of the people, with 8 various violations affecting traffic order including pedestrians crossing on red lights, driving under the influence, and illegal parking being the first to be cracked down on. The Zhejiang Province Department of Public Security intends to make it 2013’s “1st Operation”, launching it province-wide on March 1st.

During this operation, the most controversial has been the punishment of the two situations of pedestrians crossing the street during a red light and pedestrians crossing the street outside of the crosswalk. According to the Zhejiang Province Department of Public Security bulletin on March 21st, over the past 20 days, these two types of behaviors account for 8,283 and 1,622 of the punishments.

"Chinese Style Street Crossing", describing phenomenon where Chinese pedestrians will cross a street as long as they are in a group regardless of whether or not the light is red.

The “Chinese style street crossing” where people “cross once there is a big enough group without regard for the traffic light” became a hot public discussion topic as early as last year, with how to manage it becoming a headache for various major cities. Now, Zhejiang province has regulated that pedestrians pedestrians who are caught on the scene crossing the street during a red light or crossing outside of the crosswalk by traffic police will be fined 5 to 20 yuan, and has furthermore committed a large amount of police manpower, with the this being the first time such a large scope and strict punishment has been implemented [with regards to this type of violation] in the entire country.

This reporter discovered that under such strict enforcement, pedestrians have begun abiding by the rules a lot. However, a small minority of pedestrians continue to disregard the rules as before, with even multiple instances of unwilling-to-be-fined pedestrians attacking and verbally abusing traffic police, and a number of people being arrested as a result.

Experts have pointed out that the intent of this is good, but the problems of whether or not the effects of such enforcement will last, whether or not traffic police have the resources to manage the vast numbers of pedestrians, and whether or not pedestrians can change their habits remain to be scene.

A Chinese police officer giving a ticket and fining a pedestrian who has crossed a street illegally.

Comments from NetEase:


First enforce cars yielding for pedestrians.

2672413 [网易德国网友]: (responding to above)

If you waited for the green light before crossing, I doubt cars would dare hit you. Don’t complain about having others do this or that the moment you are forced to abide by the rules.

网易黑龙江省齐齐哈尔市网友 [我意纵横123]: (responding to above)

Nonsense, they haven’t even done a good job enforcing driving under the influence or drunk driving and are starting to enforce against pedestrians. The number of people who have been hit and killed at crosswalks is not small.

Sakura12 [网易广西南宁市手机网友]: (responding to above)

Third floor [above commenter], please find multiple examples of cases where pedestrians have been hit and killed at crosswalks for everyone to see.

胡思不乱写 [网易广东省佛山市网友]:

“Xu Wenguang: Just what are we afraid of missing?” : From Singapore to Bintan Island is a 55 minute ferry ride. Over 80% of the passengers are our country’s compatriots. The moment the gates are opened, everyone scrambles towards the deck. I heard the voices of two laowai amongst the crowd. One asked: “Is this ship not going to wait for us?” One asked: “Doesn’t everyone have a seat?” I sullenly reflected upon these two questions: Those of us holding ferry tickets but scrambling to be first and afraid to be last, just what are we afraid of missing?

网易安徽省黄山市网友: (responding to above)

Isn’t it all a result of taking trains [in China]? Once you’re at the stop, it’s just a few minutes, but if you’re just a bit late, then you often have to wait several hours?

局域内网 [网易广东省网友]:

First enforce those arrogant reckless white-license-plated luxury cars first, then enforce the rest. Everything should be done in steps. If you want your shadow to be straight, first straighten your own body!

网易广东省中山市网友 [佐罗也无奈]:

The United States has very few traffic lights. How come they all abide by the rules?

东西男北中 [网易辽宁省大连市网友]: (responding to above)

I’m not going to talk about how ball-aching the setup of China‘s traffic lights are. At some intersections, pedestrians often have to wait 1 and a half to 2 minutes before getting one green light, and the speed with which the light changes is just enough for one normal person to cross the street which is probably 10 to 15 seconds which means the light will have already changed for those who are slower. As for those without traffic lights but do have crosswalks, those are even worse. Too many cars are sold and road construction can’t keep up, so they let pedestrians bear the costs.

网易山东省济南市网友 [unreal555]:

Two ways, 6 lanes, 10 second green light, how are you supposed to cross that? Once you’ve finished waiting for the right-turning cars to pass by, and you’re about to start crossing, the light is already yellow.

网易宁夏银川市网友 [暈斯特羅夫斯基]: (responding to above)

Very simple, build a pedestrian overpass bridge! Dig a pedestrian tunnel! A short green light is something you should complain about to the traffic police, it isn’t an excuse for you to run a red light, illegally cross the street, or use Chinese-style street crossing!

unreal555 [网易山东省济南市网友]: (responding to above)

What a big mouth, you think building an overpass or digging a tunnel is easy? Go ahead and suggest it, and see who pays you any attention. What I’m talking about is real life circumstances, not excuses. I’m young and healthy, but even I have to run to get across this street. I fucking never run red lights. This is about “being red-lighted”, do you understand? It’s about crossing the street and the light turns red with you being unable to finish crossing and not even having a place to wait. Before opening your mouth, first use your brain.

A Chinese traffic officer maintaining order at an intersection.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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