National Day Tiananmen Square Litter Calculated & Explained?

Garbage and litter left in Tiananmen Square after crowds watched the National Day flag-raising ceremony.

Garbage and litter left in Tiananmen Square after crowds watched the National Day flag-raising ceremony.

The following translations are related to previous news story and netizen comments about 5 tons of litter left in Tiananmen Square by the crowds who watched the morning flag-raising ceremony on the October 1st National Day holiday…

From Caijing:

110k People Watch Flag-Raising Ceremony at Tiananmen Square Leave 5 Tons of Rubbish

CCTV News — on October 1st, 110k people braved rains to watch the flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square and afterward, the ground was covered with trash.

After the flag-raising ceremony this morning [October 1], the garbage left in Tiananmen Square had the ground almost completely covered where it was the most serious. Broom in hand, 150 sanitation workers together with 2 motorized sweepers and 2 garbage trucks arrayed “in dragnet” spent 30 minutes to clean it up. Preliminary estimates shows the rubbish weighed up to 5 tons.

According to the statistics of the Administrative Committee of the Tiananmen Area, around 110k people from all over the country gathered on the square that morning and braved the rains to watch the flag-raising ceremony and celebrate the 64th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Chinese crowds in Beijing's Tiananmen Square to watch the morning flag raising ceremony on National Day holiday.

Garbage and litter left in Tiananmen Square after crowds watched the National Day flag-raising ceremony.

Comments on Caijing


With people from all over the country, of different levels of civilization [education/upbringing], it certainly would be like this. The Chinese government pays no attention to education at all. After dozens of years, everything is still the same.


Infrastructure hasn’t caught up [with economic development], and neither has the characters of the people.


We always believe faith/conviction to be high aloft in the clouds, and never care about the ground under our feet.


Everyone [netizens] only know to jeer and complain, but whether you would’ve also littered under such circumstances or not remains to be seen. And you call yourselves Chinese! As if you grew up drinking foreign milk.


When telling people what they shouldn’t do, they should also be told how to behave [what they should do]. Everyone should be asked to bring a plastic bag, to put their rubbish into the bag, to take it away from the square, and to dispose of it at an assigned place.


Don’t wash our dirty linen in pubic, stop posting it on the internet, and let foreign countries laugh!

Comments on QQ:

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5 tons of rubbish left over by 110k people, 5 tons = 5000kg, 110000 people ÷ 5000kg = 22kg/person = 44 jin/person. 110k people went to watch the flag-raising with 50 jin bags of rice on their backs?


Brothers, are you all possessed by idiocy? 5000kg of garbage divided amongst 110k people, it should be 5000kg ÷ 110000 people = 0.045 kg/person. Ding this up.


His math was taught by literature teachers in P.E. classes!

Comments on Sina Weibo:

@鲍迪克: Square Flag-Raising Ceremony Watchers, Well-Done! 1. For safety reasons there are no trash cans on the square. 2. To watch the flag-raising ceremony, one had to start waiting in queue early in the night. Because of the large amount of people, police strictly prohibited people from walking around as they please, and those with rubbish had to leave their garbage on the spot. 3. A residential neighborhood of just a few thousand people produces more than 5 tons of rubbish in one night (filling up 10 large dumpsters), but last night the 110k people in queue in the square only left 5 tons of garbage (45g per head, half a banana peel)!

@贺江兵: The National Day Tiananmen Square Trash Problem: How did it come to 110 thousand people and 5 tons of rubbish? I had taken it for granted that the so-called patriots were of poor character [lacking of public manners or civic-mindedness], but a rumor-refuter said that there were no waste bins on the square yesterday to guard against bombs and it was required to leave rubbish on the square. This morning after arriving on the square after the security check, I indeed saw no rubbish on the square, just a few cigarette butts here and there. My sincere apology: The litter on October 1 had nothing to do with the character of our people but with the management of the authorities! With such strict precautionary measures, just what on earth were you afraid of?

What do you think?

  • Kevin Yu

    “Everyone [netizens] only know to jeer and complain, but whether you would’ve also littered under such circumstances or not remains to be seen. And you call yourselves Chinese! As if you grew up drinking foreign milk.”

    I really dont understand how hard can it be to just put the trash in a pocket and throw it away later when you see a garbage can. But you can even see chips on Tiananmen. Who would eat chips there?

  • Atlas

    Maybe we are all wrong and the people there were throwing garbage there as a sign of protest?

    • TJDubs

      So it was actually a subtle and profound demonstration against the establishment?

    • dineashkiiCN

      ha ha ha ha ha!!! (^_^)

    • Nessquick Choco

      so, we have to go there too and throw more rubbish :D

    • loki

      I See what you did there….

  • 二奶头发

    think of all those empty bottles…with over 100 thousand people there… goldmine!

    • anon101


    • banned

      plastics bottles= 3 yuan/ kilo. given these 5 tons all bottles, would be 15000 yuan in total and each worker 100 yuan. hope they get paid better than that.

      • banned

        finally not that much trash as it looks. it’s 110,000 people after all

        • banned

          So many banned people!

      • banned

        that guy doing calculation is a genius

      • 二奶头发

        it would be more like who can collect the most bottles. every bottle collector for themselves. :-)

    • And the cardboard and paper. Brown Gold!

      • 二奶头发

        and I’ve watched paper recycle collectors get the paper wet to make it heavier. they throw them in puddles or hose them with water.

  • anon101

    its strange that people here can happily take around toilet paper with them, but can never put rubbish in their pockets and throw it away later.

    • maybeabanana

      They aren’t in touch with nature as they are born in a concrete jungle. Subvert them to the etiquette of camping!!

    • chosan

      this has been addressed by the govt

    • Cauffiel

      I do the same. Even when I was a smoker, most of the time I pocketed butts until I found a trash can.

  • Zebadee

    Is this news? Seems like any other day in Tiananmen Square to me … about the equivalent weight of three family-sized cars, so I’ve heard.
    This level of disregard/ignorance and subsequent damage is only usually seen by large packs of rampaging animals. I can understand now why European hotels are suddenly and mysteriously “fully booked” every time Chinese travel agents call to make bookings.

  • TiredAndOut

    Chinese like to pride themselves as the source civilization of East Asia. But as I have traveled around Asia, I have come to realize this uncomfortable truth. Chinese are the most rudest, unhygienic, loud mouthed people living in one of the dirtiest countries in Asia.

    • Joey

      You haven’t been to India, I guess.

      • Truth

        @ Joey
        India may have dirty cities, but elsewhere, the character of the people I have seen across my extensive travels across both countries has shown the Indian person to be much kinder and friendlier than that of their Chinese counterpart. Indian people are by-and-large certainly not rude.

        And unhygienic the Indians are not, though the government does fail to provide sanitary living conditions a great deal of the time. Quite sad.

        • Cauffiel

          I agree, Indians are definitely friendlier, but India is dirtier than China and the the majority of the population is still living in the 10th century, in terms of education and sensibility.

          • Truth

            Very untrue, regarding Indian graduates, they are incredibly skilled, especially their engineering, math and science graduates. Their skill levels go well beyond that of an equivalent graduate in my home country of England. These are areas the country has traditionally been incredibly strong in, so you’re factually incorrect to say their education is at 10th century standards.

            Sensibility, they’re a sensible people, no worse than any other nation, but certainly no better as the latest rape scandals have come to global attention.

            Sadly I wouldn’t ‘prefer’ either an Indian or a Chinese city to call home.

          • Cauffiel

            Only a very small portion of the population has access to the vibrant education system you’re talking about. So you are factually wrong by overstating the robustness of that system.

            Are you talking about the sensibility demonstrated by allowing livestock to wander city streets unimpeded, or the sensibility demonstrated by bathing among corpses dumped in rivers? Or is it the sensibility of the caste system that continues to bury people in poverty?

            A minority of modernized peoples does not a civilized country make.

    • TheSOP

      Of the major East Asian nations China is certainly at the back of the bus. They may fancy themselves the “middle” kingdom but culturally and soft power wise they are the periphery and have been for awhile now.

  • Wololoo

    I like this one: “His math was taught by literature teachers in P.E. classes!”

    Use it next time, I hear Foreigners speak very bad chinese (99% of the foreigners).

  • Clear Head

    Economy boom does not mean anything if the China people is just thrash! Whenever there are China people, there are thrash. Not only this, the recent published handbook about the China tourists’ etiquitte also leaves us Chinese subject to global embarrassment. I don’t argue with this.

  • vonskippy

    China’s new state song: “Here piggy piggy, Here piggy piggy”.

  • Kai

    I curious if there is any validity to what was translated in the Sina Weibo posts.

  • Mateusz82

    The question here is whether all this making bad Chinese behavior public has any effect. They have to know by now that the rest of the world does know what’s going on. China (and, by extension, the Chinese people) are becoming a joke.

    If the whole “face” concept is such a big thing here, then you’d hope people can be shamed into no longer trashing their country.

  • Peter Wilton Cushing

    Can’t we get this hot girl on, those legs, hmmmmmm

  • Peter Wilton Cushing
  • The Enlightened One

    I just thinking and after hearing about the sheer volume of trash that runs through China… what do they do with all this trash… anyone know?

    If there was any country that NEEDED to revolutionize recycling to a new level, it would be China or perhaps India.

    • Kai

      That’s actually an interesting topic. I know there’s at least a huge scrap metal and electronics recycling industry in China, so much that other countries pretty much offshore a lot of hazardous materials recycling to China. I reckon most other ordinary trash is being landfilled though.

    • Cauffiel

      Pretty sure its in landfills and dumped in rivers/lakes/ocean.

      Kai is right that many countries, especially US and Britain, export enormous amounts of trash, electronics, and hazardous materials to China, but they do not export it to be recycled, they export it to get the hell rid of it. It is, not surprisingly, dumped in small villages where no one has the money or connections to say no.

      The only materials that are recycled are those that can be resold for a profit. Amassing the re-sellable materials is not done in a purpose-made factory with machinery and safety regulations… its done by literally picking through garbage by hand, with some machinery for moving large amounts at a time.

      People in these landfill villages, children in particular, have all kinds of developmental problems and disabilities because the ground water is full of mercury, arsenic, etc.

      Suffice to say, while China has a littering problem, there is a much more serious, and separate, waste management problem, and I don’t think its a stretch to presume its not on the government’s radar at all.

      • Kai

        Yeah, I forgot about the dumping in water sources as well as general water table contamination.

        Like a lot of things in China, there’s legislation to control and prohibit this kind of activity but it isn’t being enforced which means there’s not enough political attention or will to make substantive changes at the moment. The criticism that China is sacrificing its people’s health and living-standards to develop the country’s overall economy is not unfounded.

      • Foreign Devil

        China finances Americans opulent lifestyles and provides us with cheap goods. . and in return we send them our electronic toxic waste. USA has it good! Raise the debt ceiling again and threaten China with economic disaster if they don’t continue to buy our bonds and bankroll our debauchery!

        • Probotector

          No American government would dare will never impose trade tariffs on China, for some reason.

          • Cauffiel

            Wow wow its almost as if Chinese government PLANNED it that way.

    • Marihot Tobing

      they dump it in pacific ocean i guess

  • Cauffiel

    “Haha… hey, everybody! Remember that weekend waaaaay back when 100,000 people gathered here, but after we all left, the Square was littered with dead bodies instead of trash? Oh, man, those were good old days!”

    • Middle_Kingdum

      What? Why do you make up such garbage when the problem is the garbage left at the National Day flag raising! So stupid!!

      • Cauffiel

        I think we all know the garbage is really at the top of the flagpole. :-D

    • Nessquick Choco

      good try :-)))

  • Foreign Devil

    Last thing I would want to do is go out in early morning grey cold acid rain drizzle and stand with 110 K people watching some tiny flag go up in the distance. . even if it where my own country.

    • Probotector

      Don’t underestimate their patriotism.

      • Nessquick Choco

        It’s not a patriotism. it’s a ” I was there” thingy…

  • Jack

    Once again Chinese people show they have no honor, face or manners

  • AnswertheDragon

    Interesting how every time something “embarrassing” ever happens on mainland China’s Weibo a follow up Weibo article comes out to defend the incident. This just encourages people to not fix their mistakes.

  • The Hungus

    I’d much prefer Tiananmen Square to be full of trash rather than dead bodies.

  • Clarence Cooper

    Chinese students do exactly the same thing at university here in Australia. We have a very beautiful and natural campus, and there is one area where all the Chinese students always hang out. God, you should see it – millions of cigarette butts on the ground, as well as hundreds of plastic bottles and other pieces of rubbish. I can’t believe that anybody would go to another country and have such blatant disrespect for it. These people are doing massive damage to China’s international image . . .

  • Chris Roxbury

    Has anyone asked how many tons of trash there was during the same time in the past? 8 years ago there was 19 tons of trash during the same time. China is a works in process and few see how far it’s already come.

  • Karze

    Its ok to trash it but you dare not stage a peaceful protest less PLA tank might roll in.

  • Karze

    I can see all trash in China Town all over the world.

  • al in china

    Piss, spit, shit, wasn’t found? I’m sure it was……..ah the Heavenly Kingdom!

  • Vernon Alarcon

    Chinese need to learn more about the price of pollution. There is a cost for every action and there is a cost for filthy air, filthy water, and trash cleanup. Bring it in – bring it out. It’s all about RESPONSIBILITY. China can be beautiful again without all the garbage…

  • Why are they so surprised? The new middle class doesn’t mean that the average Chinese person has changed their filthy, dog-in-the-gutter mentality. I am American, lived in Guangzhou five years. I love China, I really do. But the habits of hygiene of the average Chinese is disgusting! I saw in those five years everyday citizens throwing trash on the ground while a rubbish bin was only one meter away. Children openly pissing and defecating on the streets and sidewalks. People spitting out the bones of chicken, pork and fish on the clean white table cloth of very nice restaurants. There is more, but that gives you the idea. No, five tons of trash would be fitting. That is normal. Why the surprise I ask again?