Netizens Chew Out CCTV as Sympathetic Weibo Post Backfires

A sanitation worker sweeps a snow covered street


Recently, a sanitation worker in Zhengzhou, China was beaten and injured after asking a man to stop spitting sunflower seed shells on the ground of the street he was responsible for keeping clean. Following the incident, state-broadcaster CCTV posted a microblog post on social network Weibo describing the working conditions and dangers that sanitation workers face on a daily basis, asking fellow Weibo users to support the workers by forwarding the post. Netizens fed up with the government news channel’s use of words instead of any real measures to help the workers’ situation took to the comments to show their true feelings about CCTV’s response to this incident and many others like it in the past.

From Sina Weibo:

@央视新闻: Today, Are You Willing to Reshare This For Them? Let Us All Say: Thank You For Your Hard Work [泪] — A few days ago, a sanitation worker named Mr. Wei asked a man eating sunflower seeds to not litter the shells on the ground, “Mister, how can you eat sunflower seeds like this?” Who would’ve imaged that the #sanitation worker [being] beaten until his eyeball ruptured#! Recently, many sanitation workers have suffered beatings and verbal abuse, with some having even died from being hit [by cars] while cleaning up litter. [悲伤] To maintain a clean environment for everyone, they rise early and sleep late earning money with their labor! Put yourself in their shoes, don’t litter, and treat them with respect! Those in support, forward this on!

A sanitation worker shovels snow

A sanitation worker picks up cigarette butts


A sanitation worker cleans a sewer



A sanitation worker sweeps a snow covered street


Comments from Sina Weibo:


Don’t fucking stir up sympathy, please just increase their compensation, as that would be the decent thing to do. Seeing CCTV do this every day just makes me want to puke.


CCTV sure is hypocritical. I hope one day, you’ll post a weibo about you actually solving a problem, rather than just spreading fake sentiment. You know what? Every time you post this kind of weibo, I really just want to curse you.


Why don’t you expose the identify of that lowlife who was spitting sunflower seeds on the ground?


Every time it’s promise to not litter and forward [posts like this]. Are there no better methods?! Do you only see a one-sided solution to this problem?! Sanitation workers have miserable working conditions, their salary is low, and in this era of people all being equal, their social position is still low. Fuck, to do the right thing and still be beaten for it! Just imagine how wronged he must feel!! Every time you report on how sanitation workers are doing, we never see how the problems are handled afterward. This isn’t something that just asking us to make a promise can take care of… (reached the character limit)


Whats the use of forwarding this? Tell me? We just forward this post and then nobody will beat sanitation workers? Nobody will litter? Then what use is the law? When will human rights and humanity be protected by the law!


Raise their salaries!!!!!!!! Forwarding this all day is absolutely useless!


I really can’t stand this. Everyday reporting on stuff about poverty stricken households, how social morality has been corrupted and the like, but never actually adopting any measures to do anything about it. What use is being sympathetic or forwarding a post? The country [government] should pay more attention to the well-being of the people.


Forward this? Say thanks for your troubles? We already know sanitation workers get the lowest pay and do the dirtiest work, to the point where sometimes even their lives are in danger. Whether its the government or some other welfare organization, I wholeheartedly hope something real can be done for them. [可怜]


Give them higher salary and make them official staff. But you know what? The city sanitation bureau does have official staff, but all of the sanitation workers are temporary workers. There are so many more workers than there are official staff positions, and the temporary workers don’t get paid nearly as much as the official staff. Even if you allowed the sanitation bureau to create more official staff positions, they would still hire temporary workers. The extra positions will just be taken by people with connections. Only if we completely eliminate the system of using temporary workers by government departments can we get rid of this type of vermin in our country [referring to the official staff who exploit the ready availability of cheap labor to outsource their work].


Not littering depends on the moral character of our citizens, but it’s the government who can most practically guarantee the well-being of sanitation workers! If the government put safeguards in place for them, I believe it would make them feel even more relieved.


Everyday calling on people to forward things, can’t you do something real for the sanitation workers? Their salary is so low and their work is so hard and exhausting. Their work to pay ratio doesn’t correlate. You should spend more time addressing the government department responsible [instead of the general public]


What fucking use is forwarding forwarding forwarding?! First we need to raise the salaries of sanitation workers. Secondly we need to give them better equipment and a better working environment, like how about a place to rest!!! Just sitting here everyday forwarding things is useless! CCTV should expose whichever cities are not doing this! Not just make us forward this!


Expose the sha bi who beat him!


Playing on the sympathies of the people everyday, what do we need the law for?


Their work is dirty and smelly, but it’s actually noble work, and their salary isn’t proportional. The related departments should reflect on this.

If you support the insights our translations can provide, consider becoming a patron to keep our work accessible to the world.
READ  Elderly, Women, & Children Left Behind in China's Countryside
  • Amused

    What a fucking prick. This makes making an old Indian cry(iconic U.S. anti-littering commercial) look like spilling someone’s beer. The sad thing is the street cleaner dude was probably too scared to raise his hands and defend himself with all of China’s weird liability “laws”.

    And big ups for the netizens showing him some love.

    • Paul Schoe

      Every now and then, I hear about those weird Chinese ‘liability laws’ with some apparently even the police seem to disagree with (like your liability when taking action against a burglar in your house).

      Anybody has any knowledge about those liability laws?

  • Luke the Duke

    It’s good to see that Chinese netizens are so good at calling out this kind of idiocy – the kind of idiocy which thinks that writing a blog post is enough to declare that you have done something and then wash your hands of the problem.

    If only the users of platforms such as facebook were more like this.

    • firebert5

      If only a few comments on the situation would accomplish anything of lasting value. Their venting will do absolutely nothing. For the CCP, the internet may be as much a blessing in disguise as it is a curse. It gives people a place to let off steam without taking to the streets.

  • LMAO “#sanitation worker [being] beaten until his eyeball ruptured#”

    • Paul Schoe

      nothing to laugh about

  • Mihel

    Please CCTV, since you’re so brave to ask for citizens to treat sanitation workers with more respect by not littering, also ask the government to treat them with more respect by raising their pay.

    • Don’t Believe the Hype

      they are the gov’t

  • Mihel

    People should not litter because littering is stupid, not because it makes sanitation workers feel sad.

  • AG

    Sympathetic to those janitors. People should respect their work.
    However, demanding high pay for the job is most ridiculous. In true market economy, price/value is commaned by supply/demand. Rare skill or aility with wide demand produce high value. A skill which most people can do produce low value.
    Almost any thing in market economy is like that including merchandise.
    Some of the commentators lack basic understanding of market economy. These people really want old absolute equality back like Mao era. But they might be just bunch of douchebag who will curse any thing in the world.

    • Martin

      This is the biggest contradiction in Chinese culture, they all want a more equal society while each of them deeply want to have more than everyone else and show off what they got to the rest of the world. This and the leisure life and minimum effort promoted by Confucianism in opposition to the everlasting growth and hardship promoted by Modern China. Also the money saving mindset that Chinese are famous for totally opposed to the gambling addicts that they are known to be (here again gambling encouraged by confucianism, time to admit that confucius was an idiot).

      • Xia

        Where did Confucius promote gambling and leisure life with minimum effort? Sure you are not mistaking him for Epicurus?

  • Stefan

    If you really think about it, Chinese cities are quite clean, sometimes more so than London, New York, and Paris.

    • Aussie D

      Are you kidding? Have you ever been to other cities and seen. We dont spit all over the pavement, urinate in any bush, throw rubbish everywhere. My god you have no idea of what your talking about.

      • Stefan

        I’m talking about Shenzhen and Shanghai for the most part, most cities in China are a dirty but first tier cities are quite clean.

        • Boris

          “Chinese cities are quite clean” to “I’m talking about Shenzhen and Shanghai for the most part, most cities in China are a dirty but first tier cities are quite clean.” is quite different.

        • Mihel

          In many countries the “first tier” cities are the dirtiest, the cleanliness goes up as the ‘tier’ goes down.
          I wonder if this has to do with people in smaller cities having more of a sense of belonging to the place they live in, compared to people in more crowded metropolis.

          • mr.wiener

            Hmm. I peed on that street corner, it is mine.

          • Mihel

            Peeing on stuff to mark your territory savannah-style doesn’t count. But don’t worry, I’m sure in a couple of decades that’ll be a legit way to claim possession over things and places.

          • mr.wiener

            The pee of today will be washed away by the pee of tomorrow. This is the state Urine.

          • Amused

            Bullshit, I think you’re just taking credit for some spilled stinky tofu.

          • Teacher in China

            Speaking as someone living in a sub-third tier city in China – that ain’t the case here. In Dongbei, anyway.

        • 宋易

          Parts of Shenzhen and Shanghai are clean. The wider areas are not.

        • Zappa Frank

          it’s not even true in shanghai. just walk somewhere not in the middle of the city and you can see how dirty it is.. take a walk in beixinjing for instance

      • gregblandino

        Meh New York City is a fucking cesspit. There’s definitely less mentally ill and/or drug addicts chilling in the Subway than in parts of Paris and New York. The first tier cities of Beijing and Shanghai are kept quite clean, but only by a nonstop herculean effort by brigades of street cleaners. There also isn’t really a ghetto or slum area. Other parts of China are filthy.

      • vincent_t

        Go walk on the streets in some US cities and see if u able to cover 100m without stepping on any gum spat on the side walk. Yes China is dirty, but don’t put up a fake image that the other side is so rosy. It is just not.

        • Amused

          100 meters? Dude you can’t cover 20 feet without a pile of either spit, shit or vomit here…

      • JayJay

        This is from experience. I was in London and Harbin within the same month of this January. Harbin is actually not bad (being a 2nd tier city) compared to London. It was generally clean. You do get the occasional spitters but Sat morning in London, you do see people’s sick after Friday night outs. It has gotten a lot better in China over the recent years.

        I was in Jordan in late 2013, and I have to say it was like China probably about 10 years ago.

    • Teacher in China

      I’d agree with you for Paris at least. Mind you, I was there waaaay back in 2000, but I found the streets to be particularly dirty, especially with dogshit. I don’t think you can compare Chinese cities with London though. That’s a pretty clean city.

      • Eurotrash

        I used to live in Paris. The city had special dogshit vacuums on the backs of motorcycles to try to clean the dogshit off the streets. You didn’t ever want to be downwind of those motorcycles.

        • vincent_t

          we just gotta be thankful that there is no hurricane in Paris.

          • Eurotrash

            I can see it now, “Dogshit-nado” the film!

    • vincent_t

      Street cleanliness is disputable. But 1 thing for sure, I prefer the subway in China than those cities (except London, nvr been there). At least the stations here are well lit, clean and no butt ugly graffiti. Somebody really gotta tell those “artist” that their art is not as impressive as they thought.

    • Mihel

      If I really think about it neither USA, England nor France are known for their deep love of street cleanliness.
      So congratulations to chinese cities for being cleaner than other cities who really aren’t famous for being clean.

    • Dolph Grunt

      Wow! Scratching London, New York and Paris off my travel plans.

      • gregblandino

        Don’t! They are all cool cities to visit. A little dirt never killed anyone.

    • Jahar

      I can’t imagine those cities have such a high number of public sanitation workers, and imagine if they did.

    • Martin

      The US, UK and France don’t have armies of street cleaners though, now let’s compare Japanese cities with Chinese cities, oops, feeling ashamed much?

    • 宋易

      Oh god, there just has to be someone on every chinasmack article who matter-of-factly states the opposite of the obvious.

      *Please* remember to reply to this message by telling me to be more patient and open minded by comparing a small pocket of clean sidewalks in a financial district of China to an empty lot in a Chicago ghetto. Thanks.

      • mr.wiener

        Given Stefan’s track record of comments, does this in anyway surprise you?

        • 宋易

          I don’t really pay attention to him.

    • Apothis

      Seriously? No one country pollutes more than China.

      • Stefan

        China has much lower levels of pollution per capita than the west.

        • guest

          And China has a higher yearly rate of increase than the USA.

          But to use the term “the west” is rather a weaseling of words Europe as define, here

          Has much lower carbon emissions per capita than China, but when averaged with the USA it is higher.

  • Amused

    It would be rather interesting to see what Chinese would do with the idea of raising donations for cases like this.

    • Vance

      “Ok, we’ll give them a raise as you suggested. It will cost xxxx amount, so this will require a tax increase of ______ amount.” Who’s up for it? I wonder if they know where that money comes from?

      • Boris

        They’ll ask the money be taken from the government or party members.

      • FYIADragoon

        With the amount of misappropriation that occurs in the party, just fixing even 1% of those would provide enough to pay for a COLA raise.

    • Mihel

      There’s no need for citizens to give extra money with donations, as we’ve been told countless times China is a rich country, it’s the tax money that has to be better distributed.

    • JayJay

      Shouldn’t the state take care of its workers? implementing fairer minimum wage and working conditions? This trickle-down idea has been tried and tested before and it has never been shown to work.

      • Amused

        Everyone knows that working for the state is the same as working for the invisible man if you get hurt here. In the US(where there’s no state health care either) often people will raise money independently thru donations for cases where people just can’t afford to pay the medical bills. I’m not suggesting we all do that here, I’m just testing the waters to see if anyone thinks they wouldn’t run with a noble idea and turn it into the new scam of the year.

  • 42

    This is one of the few times I disagree with the Netizens. It’s sanitation work for crying out loud. Anybody with hands and feet can do sanitation work, cleaning streets is no rocket science, that’s why salary pay should be accordingly and cannot be raised at high level. even paying them more wont prevent them from getting beaten by harrassing pedestrians. its not the job of a sanitational worker to critisize peoples littering behavior, their job is only to clean. also making sanitation workers regular staff will put other people who wants to get into the business in disadvantage, so rotation and hiring temporary staff will give many more employees to have a chance at having work. providing security for sanitational workers is even a more ridiculous idea. the chinese government has done the right thing here, to prevent abuse of sanitational workers, you have to start with educating people at creating sympathy and respect for them. the same goes for educating people not to litter.

    • mr.wiener

      True. The state asking people to behave more civic minded gets almost the same hostility in China as you do in the US when you say you want to give people universal health care.

      • 宋易

        Civic mindedness is free and provides a return. Universal healthcare is a wealth redistribution and power consolidation scam by the government.

        • Kai

          He wasn’t equating civic-mindedness and univeral healthcare. He was comparing the public hostility. I thought it was funny.

          While we’re on it…

          Civic-mindedness isn’t really free. It requires time and energy. It has opportunity cost. We have to be socialized into considering the return/benefits as outweighing the personal cost/inconvenience.

          Given that we already accept wealth redistribution and power consolidation through government in other things, we have to argue against why we don’t accept it specifically for healthcare. The reason for rejecting it cannot be as simple and broad as being against wealth-distribution and power consolidation. If we have the government redistribute wealth and consolidate power to provide things like public security and education, why NOT healthcare?

          Now, I’m not saying citizens under a democratic government can’t hypocritically pick and choose without principle what they want to consolidate through the government and what they don’t, but in terms of persuasive logic and rhetoric, why NOT healthcare as well?

          There are some people who ARE consistently principled. They tend to be those who have the means to not rely on the government. They can purchase their own security, their own education, and their own healthcare. But at some point in our society, we started having this troublesome notion of wanting to make things fairer for everyone, because we couldn’t deny the phenomena of systemic and institutionalized privilege and disadvantage.

          • mr.wiener

            Not sure whether to apply Poe’s law to his comment or it is case in point.

          • 宋易

            Kai has a way of mischaracterizing virtually everything he reads on chinasmack forums, I believe for two reasons: 1. to set the table to say whatever it is he happens to want to say, and 2. so he doesn’t have to address what a commenter is really saying (unless he agrees with it). Thats why his threads alternate between hundreds of and hundreds of words from himself, and brief replies from the commenter he’s needling.

            Today, for some reason, he seems to believe that two ideas, concepts, or phenomena mentioned in the same argument must be an equation of the two.

            I am pointing out that the two things you are comparing are not comparable. Your comment implies universal healthcare (like civic mindedness) is indisputably a good thing. I realize you are not equating them (it’s a stretch to make that claim, at best, but look how effortlessly the other moderator does it), but you are definitely comparing them. I’m saying that they can’t be compared in this this way.

            That is not a new or extreme position. Don’t let Kai poison the well for you.

          • mr.wiener

            My well is un-poisoned as I am as shallow as a wading pool.
            Whilst I do actually think health cover is good [I’m Australian] I was only comparing civic mindedness [in China] with health care [in the US] as both seem to be contentious issues [in their respective countries] and produced impassioned responses from all sides.
            I’ve met Kai and would not want to piss him off, that guy is the size of a brick shithouse.

          • 宋易

            Really… you’re the only moderator here who I think is moderate.

            I think it still comes off like you’re comparing the two. If you said “Encouraging civic mindedness in China elicits the same hostility as anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany” you’d get a lot of objections to comparing those two phenomena, even if that wasn’t your intention. That might be too extreme an example to perfectly illustrate what I’m saying, but maybe you get the idea.

            I didn’t say health coverage is bad. I said universal healthcare (administrated by government) is not inherently good, as opposed the inherently pleasant nature of civic mindedness.

            I’m not sure what a brick shithouse is, but if you’re suggesting Kai is full of shit, I might be able to get on board with that. :-D

          • Kai

            What is this? Complaining about (i’ll be nice) mommy to daddy?

            Your response to mr.wiener evidenced a misunderstanding of what he was comparing. You confirm it here that you believed he was “definitely comparing” universal healthcare and civic mindedness.

            Seeing your misunderstanding, I clarified that he was comparing the public hostility surrounding those issues, not the issues themselves. He has confirmed it.

            I was pointing out that what you were pointing out wasn’t applicable because you misunderstood what he was saying.

            You complain about being misunderstood and complain about others trying to clarify things. You can’t have it both ways.

        • gregblandino

          While your “power consolidation” bit seems paranoids, wealth has been redistributed in America quite radically since the 80’s, with government support and collusion. Unfortunately, it’s been redistributed upward. Unless your some sort of super tycoon or angel investor, why would you be opposed to redistributing some of that wealth to the 99%? Can you point to which country implemented universal healthcare which then ulimately turned out to be a diabolical power consolidation scam?

          • 宋易

            :-) Good questions…. let me explain my thinking. I believe when the government of a very large nation wrests control of 15% of its economy, it is crazy to NOT view it as a power move. If you look at the manner by which the ACA was adopted in the U.S., its even more clear. The bill was passed during the Christmas holiday in a late night congressional session while no one was watching.

            I also think the “99%” trope is misdirection…. I roll my eyes every time I hear it. Those guys are extremely wealthy because they are *experts* at managing and investing money (read: resources). Far better than government entities. Governments manage resources by force; America’s wealthiest manage resources by market decree.

            What I absolutely despise is that those people are so easily able to buy influence in politics, because you’re right… there is a lot of collusion between successful, moneyed people and the federal government. THAT’S what people should be angry about, that’s what takes choice away from citizens, and thats not on the plutocrats… almost anyone with billions of dollars will try to buy influence. That fault is on the government. Why isn’t anyone talking about the 99% of *power* held by 535 people (+executive/judicial branches), and how that power is for sale to the highest bidder?

            Americans are looking the wrong way every step of the way. Concerned about concentrated money instead of concentrated power. Guess which one is going to be more difficult to dislodge in the coming decades? Guess which one will be more vulnerable to abuse? Money is far more mobile than power.

            A caveat…. just to make it clear where I’m coming from, I’m not some nutjob who thinks there was nothing wrong with medical care in the U.S. before the ACA. There were plenty of problems that were solvable in less intrusive ways. I think the ACA is going to buy us a whole new set of problems that will be less solvable because all the decision-making power is concentrated in Washington.

          • gregblandino

            I agree wholeheartedly on the lasting harm the purchasing of political power is doing to America as both a society and economically. However, if power and influence can be purchased in our current system, I find it harder to agree that wealth is somehow less dangerous in the wrong hands than power. They have effectively become the same: the extreme concentration of wealth brings about an extreme concentration of power and vice versa.

            The boundary between government and business interests has become blurred to the point of meaninglessness. The same phenomenon is commented in English language media more vociferously in countries like Russia and China (I’m not saying USA is a bad as these two, calm down trolls), but we are more reluctant to point out this nexus of government, wealth and business in our own country.

            I do have to take exception with the notion that the ACA was some sort of end run sneak attack. Obama campaigned on health care and foreign policy in 2008. While his successes and defeats in both categories can be debated, even if the ACA was passed, the issue had certainly been openly debated before the bill was passed.
            I’d better appreciate the value of the financial services industry in America if they got some regulations that prevented them from periodically crashing the economy and forcing the government to bail them out. Glass-Steagall should be reinstated. Government, or power, is a tool. Currently it is being used for the wrong reasons (in some spheres, I’m not ready to give up and end it all just yet), but that does not preclude it being used for good. In this case, I’d argue universal health care counts as a “good.”

            I was wondering whether you had any thoughts on the relationship between wealth concentration at the top and its role in creating the current series of asset bubbles that have been occuring with greater regularity. Do you see this as a problem, and if so, what would you propose as a way to ameliorate it?

          • 宋易

            To convert money into power requires a buyer and seller acting either without proper laws or without proper enforcement of laws, that is to say, money is a step away from power. But power is power on its own. Americans strongly value, in general, the separation of church and state. Just as important (and very comparable, if you look at the economic power exerted by the Church in old Europe) is the separation of business and state. I think this is entirely possible, but there are mountains to climb given the status quo. Also important to remember is that privately held wealth, in general, is earned money. Government revenues are accumulated through systemic theft (income tax, which I believe should be outlawed with an amendment to the Constitution.) Stolen money just begs to be misappropriated; there is always more where it came from.

            I would argue that the U.S. has a candle to hold to Russia and China with respect to the business-state relationship, although the former two are nonetheless worse off.

            I moved to China just a few months before the ACA was passed…. while healthcare had been mulled over for a while, the ACA itself was not. If I remember right, the bill was not even published until weeks after it had been signed into law. It was subject a lot of criticism for this specifically because Obama had made a campaign promise to publicize bills for X days (I think it was 4?) before Congressional votes. “Obama ran on a platform of healthcare reform” is not the same as “the ACA was properly vetted and written with the best interests of citizens as a measure of success.”

            Universal healthcare in the sense that everyone is able to get healthcare if they really want it, yes. Healthcare absolutely free of charge without regard for how its facilitated, whether its sustainable, or who is really paying for it is irresponsible and begging for disaster. And the United States deserves what is coming to them in a few decades for enacting the ACA.

            I’m not a finance guy, so don’t quote me in the WSJ, but a took a few classes in university. Ameliorate asset bubbles by ceasing to bail out investors and businesses. Bailouts work in the short term, but they artificially lower the risk of the risk/reward assessment investors use to make investment decisions. If you’re a banker who wants to risk a billion to make two, and you have the promise of taxpayer dollars to bail you out if you fail so that its closer to a 200m risk to make 2b, that strongly encourages bad investments. That bailout becomes part of the risk assessment. Just throw other people’s pensions at the wall and see what sticks… fuck it, the government will bail everyone out. Not a good way to nurture an economy. Aside from that, I’m no longer in tune with current banking regulations, but given how prominent bailouts are, its not a stretch to believe there are numerous regulations that knowingly do more harm than good… I just don’t know.

          • gregblandino

            What you’re referring to is “moral hazard.” Unless we regulate the size and composition of financial institutions, they will grow to be so large that the government and the people are faced with the choice of allowing large scale bank failures, or bailouts. The answer is not “less regulation,” that is precisely the course of action that led to TARP.
            The ACA is a virtual copy of the system that Romney implemented in Massachusetts as governor. It is not “free.” It relies on subsidies and a Medicare/Medicaid expansion to cover lower income people. But the most people are going to get private insurance either from their company or out of pocket. My cousin used the marketplace website to get insurance, and yea, he has to pay for his insurance.

    • JayJay

      How about let them unionise? oh, not possible in China

  • stevelaudig

    CCTV efforts rather like prayer. How to do nothing and still think you are helping

    • A Touch of Sin

      Prayer is meditation. Here are several peer reviewed academic papers that show benefits of this activity. Prayer allows a person to focus their thoughts and come up with actions to take in the future. Conversely, just asking for problems to be solved isn’t very helpful, of course.

      I know it is popular and trendy to make fun of religion, so I understand your point. Just making a counter point.

      • JayJay

        On the other hand, useless for they people for the prayers are for, right?

        Why isn’t asking problems to be solved not helpful? Has there been studies on that too? Not being condescending or anything.

        • A Touch of Sin

          I don’t think science can show any significant link between meditating on hoping someone’s problems get solved and those problems actually getting solved. Not likely to be any studies, but I could be wrong.

          I prefer the Al Pacino method of prayer: I was going to ask God for a bike, but I knew he didn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

  • Teacher in China

    WHenever it snows up here in small one horse inbred farming town Dongbei, all the sanitation workers are out before sunrise to sweep the snow off the sidewalks. At the same time, other workers are are scraping the snow off the sides of the streets to make them all clean. The whole process easily takes 24 hours and probably 100 people.

    Coming from a snow-filled country as I do, it always makes me shake my head a little. Snow-removal machines are about 100x more efficient. Would take them 2 hours to do the whole city at most, even with only 10 machines. But then I guess there’d be nothing for the workers to do…

    • Vance

      They do not have snowplows even in the north there? I was a bit surprised to see that pic of that guy hand shoveling snow on a public street. Northern cities in China should be as used to the snow as northern cities here in the US.

      • Teacher in China

        I would guess they do in the bigger cities like Changchun. Still, you’re far more likely to see people doing it by hand than a snowplow. And I can’t remember the last time I saw one in my little town.

        • 宋易

          When I lived in Shenyang, I saw a few plow roll by during rare snow events. But the bulk of the snow removal was done by hand. At my university, the freshmen were required to wake up early and clear snow from campus pathways. Hahaha.

        • Vance

          Wow. That’s amazing. I just take those plows for granted here. I can’t imagine hand shoveling the streets.

    • Dolph Grunt

      You ever looked up China’s unemployment rate? It’s tiny. 4.1%

      • Martin

        It’s tiny because lots of people do jobs that would be done anywhere else by machines and because salaries are so low that employers can afford it. At my office it usually takes 4 Chinese do do in 2 hours what can be done back home by 1 person in 15 minutes (and done better), now that’s efficiency. The government is pushing hard to provide jobs for everyone, even if that means inefficiency and overcapacity, while people work they don’t protest.

        • Teacher in China

          The guys who press the button on the ticket dispensing machine and hand it to the car that’s one foot away from said machine kill me. In no way would that be a job in Canada.

      • 宋易

        Unemployment rates are dubiously calculated.

  • Dolph Grunt

    “When will human rights and humanity be protected by the law!”

    Something I never thought I’d hear someone (not currently incarcerated) from China say.

    • 42

      Back in the days America never thought that americans would stop saying “hang that nigger”, but that changed too. Very ignorant if you think that mindset and ideology in China cannot change due time.

      • 宋易

        Why are you comparing the likelihood that someone will something to the likelihood that someone will stop saying something? I think you got your wires crossed.

        • Kai

          He’s reacting to Dolph’s feigned surprise.

          Let’s first establish that Dolph uttered an arguably trollish remark for someone who has been reading chinaSMACK long enough to have repeatedly seen Chinese people be critical about human rights, humanity, and the law in China. What he’s more likely expressing is his contempt for how little he feels Chinese people care about human rights, humanity, and the law.

          @disqus_014EK2WiMn:disqus either didn’t see through this or he’s being charitable by giving Dolph the benefit of the doubt that he is genuinely surprised. Thus, he uses an analogy to point out that Dolph shouldn’t be too surprised because he should understand that things can change over time. If Americans can change, so can the Chinese. If Americans as a society can evolve past anti-black racism, it shouldn’t be that suprising that Chinese can evolve to caring about human rights, humanity, and the law.

          He didn’t get his wires crossed, he simply took Dolph at his word, which is very likely a mistake.

      • Dolph Grunt

        A very strange response. To clarify what I meant was, I never thought that would ever make it onto the Chinese internet.

        I live in Canada. I’ve heard many Chinese make comments about their rights and freedoms. I know they’re capable of it. Just never thought I would see it.

        That’s more pessimist than racist.

  • Jahar

    “Civilized city, better life.” You mean this crap doesn’t help? I think “Don’t be a dirtbag asshole” would be as effective.

  • Ryo Saeba

    Somewhat unrelated, it just boggles my mind why anyone would litter. For example, people throwing out empty bottles, tissues, and wrappers from cars. I have even seen kids do this. Do they feel superior or in a “higher class” because they feel littering is “cool” somehow? It does not cost them anything to hold the trash until they can put it in a bin. But for reason’s unknown, they feel the need to roll down their window and throw it out their car for everyone else to see. Very puzzling.

    • Kai

      I hope you’re just exaggerating. I don’t think anyone really derives a sense of superiority from littering, they just have a different idea of what is their space and what is not their space. In their hand is something they don’t want, and by dropping it, it is no longer an issue for them. Pretty much everyone had to be socialized out of this mental framework. We had to be taught to expand our definition of personal space and responsibility, to take ownership of our environment and think beyond our personal short-term benefit and convenience.

      • Ryo Saeba

        The car is merely an example. What about the people sitting on a bench waiting for a bus throwing their waste right under their feet? What puzzles me is them seeing litter on the streets doesn’t bother them? If they set an example for others to follow, wouldn’t we have cleaner streets? Are they allergic to cleaner streets?

        There are TV ads running a few times a day telling people to put trash in trash bins and be proud to not litter. I’m sure they’ve seen a few of them during the years. After seeing them, they still litter. So they must feel “cool” to go against having a clean environment. Just like smoking in places where “No Smoking” signs are everywhere.

        I’ve heard that Chinese don’t hold doors open for people because others may look at them as being inferior/lesser. I feel littering gives them the same superiority complex as having manners and being considerate of others.

        • Kai

          They consider the ground under their feet non-personal space that they are merely occupying at the moment, and once they leave, it is no longer their problem.

          Some people really aren’t that bothered by litter on the streets. It only increasingly bothers them the more they associate that space as theirs and as the litter increasingly affects their convenience and self-interests.

          People also have a tendency to externalize “problems” onto others and overlook their own contribution as significant. Humans suck.

          No one of course is allergic to cleaner streets, but I don’t consider it puzzling why people litter. Why does anyone do anything? It’s a function of interests, convenience, and socialization. There was a time when littering was (more) ubiquitous in our own societies than they are now. Were the people back then not “bothered” by the litter around them? Were they “allergic to cleaner streets”?

          There are indeed increasingly anti-littering PSAs in China, but why do you think the people who still litter have seen them? What makes you think they’ve internalized the message? What makes you think some PSAs are automatically going to change people’s lifelong habits overnight? Do you think you might be taking for granted all the people who saw such PSAs and have improved their behavior with regards to littering? That you don’t notice those people, who are still fundamentally a product of progress in this regard?

          I can’t empathize with the notion that someone who fails to modify their behavior after watching a PSA or seeing a no smoking sign must think they are “cool” for it. That’s kinda weird to me. So is the guy speeding on the highway necessarily thinking he’s “cool” for doing so? Or maybe he’s just in a hurry? Not paying attention to his speedometer? Doesn’t think his speed is that big of a deal?

          Accusing these people of thinking they’re cool seems to be projecting malevolence onto them when it’s more likely they’re just ignorant or apathetic.

          Whoever told you Chinese don’t hold doors open for people because others may look at them as being inferior/lesser has done you a huge disservice, especially since it has become a basis for you to misinterpret other behaviors.

          There are specific situations and contexts where a Chinese person might feel holding open a door is being servile, but in general, they might not hold open a door for much more mundane reasons. For example, the prospect of having to hold the door for a neverending stream of people instead of just one or two. The more likely reason is that they simply were never raised to do so as a common courtesy just like anyone else in this world that doesn’t seem to possess the manners or courtesies we ourselves take for granted.

          It’s generally not wise to mistake ignorance for malevolence.

          • Ryo Saeba

            Well, the problem is that both of us are simply speculating. It could be totally different if we actually ask them why they do what they do. But until then, you can write 20 paragraphs and still have no idea why they do it. And honestly, you really take some of my sarcastic comments seriously. Unless of course you didn’t think I was being sarcastic? In any case, there are so many people here, some will fit your description, some will fit mines, and some will fit something else you and I couldn’t possibility thought of.

            As for your opinions for smoking being cool, it is indeed a fact that some people smoke to feel cool. Going against a rule makes one feel cool. Haven’t you ever been a kid and felt great doing something you aren’t suppose to do?

            For your car example, people do speed because of all the items you’ve mentioned. I have sped past people in slower cars on the freeway just to feel cool because I drove a nice car! What can I say? I was young and stupid. So yes, some people do speed to feel cool. Just because you don’t do such silly things doesn’t mean there aren’t people that don’t.

            I have seen many times people don’t hold doors (or elevator doors) for just one person behind them. Many times, I myself have ran up to closing elevator doors and the person behind the door looks at me in the eyes but do nothing.

            Please don’t get me wrong. All the things I’ve said aren’t 100% of the time. There are of course times people do hold doors for me and I thank them for it. It is the times that people don’t do it, what were they thinking? Unless someone asks, we’ll never know.

          • Kai

            Well, the problem is that both of us are simply speculating. It could be totally different if we actually ask them why they do what they do. But until then, you can write 20 paragraphs and still have no idea why they do it.

            Sure, we’re necessarily speculating, and there’s a spectrum of how reasonable that speculation is. For example, I notice I have a bloody nose. Speculation A: It must’ve been hit somehow. Speculation B: The Flying Spaghetti Monster willed it. Do we call consider both speculations equal?

            I’m offering you what I believe is “reasonable” speculation. In response to you thinking Chinese people littler because they think it “makes them cool” or “superior”, I suggest it is only because while we were socialized against littering, they weren’t.

            And honestly, you really take some of my sarcastic comments seriously. Unless of course you didn’t think I was being sarcastic?

            Which sarcastic comments are you referring to? I’ll point out that I started off asking if you were exaggerating overall referring to you expressing your inability to understand why people litter. If you’re referring to specific remarks, you can clarify for me which ones because I may indeed not have realized you were being sarcastic.

            As for your opinions for smoking being cool, it is indeed a fact that some people smoke to feel cool. Going against a rule makes one feel cool. Haven’t you ever been a kid and felt great doing something you aren’t suppose to do?

            Where did I express an opinion for smoking being cool?

            So yes, some people do speed to feel cool. Just because you don’t do such silly things doesn’t mean there aren’t people that don’t.

            Where did I say people haven’t sped to feel cool? The point of my analogy wasn’t to argue that no one speeds to be cool; it was to show you that there are many other possible reasons that may be far more plausible. If we recognize that, why would you jump to a less plausible reason like “Chinese people litter because it makes them feel cool”?

            Just because you’ve done something for one reason doesn’t make that the most reasonable speculation for why others do it. Just because you have at some times sped because it made you feel cool doesn’t mean your speculation that Chinese people litter because it makes them feel cool is a reasonable one. It also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be receptive to and consider more plausible alternative speculation, right?

            Please don’t get me wrong. All the things I’ve said aren’t 100% of the time. There are of course times people do hold doors for me and I thank them for it. It is the times that people don’t do it, what were they thinking? Unless someone asks, we’ll never know.

            I understand, and I’m offering you the best reasons I can speculate based on what I know. Do you find my alternatives reasons implausible and unreasonable or less reasonable than the reason you argued for: that they think it is cool to litter and it gives them a superiority complex?

      • 宋易

        More likely they just don’t respect other people, don’t have class, and…

        “In their hand is something they don’t want, and by dropping it, it is no longer an issue for them.”

        … are about as mature and thoughtful as a 3 year old.

        The difference in sense of personal space holds water when you’re talking about how close people stand when they talk or how large public restrooms are designed.

        It does not account for the piles of trash and restaurant waste coating the sidewalks at the bus stop closest to my home.

        • Kai

          Sure, we can judge them as not respecting other people, not having class, and not being mature.

          It just doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize those are all colorfully subjective judgements.

          I’d point out: Do they consciously intend to disrespect other people with their littering habits? I don’t think so in general. They were just never taught to be cognizant of how littering can be seen as disrespectful to one’s environment and those who share that environment. It’s more ignorance than malevolence.

          You misunderstand what I’m saying about personal space. You’re only thinking of it as a specific definition for another context. I’m not talking about buffer zones around our physical body, I’m talking about how we figuratively identify with our environment. A person who litters would probably see their home differently from their neighborhood and their neighborhood differently from the other side of town, no different from how one might see their country differently from another country.

          To use Ryo’s example, a person will associate the inside of their car more personally than they would the street they are driving across. To them, they have moved something they don’t want (garbage) outside of their “personal space” and now it is no longer an immediate concern for them.

          The piles of trash and restaurant waste coating the sidewalks at the bus stop closest to your home are all done by people who do not consider that sidewalk part of their personal space. It is no different from how people in the past around the world emptied their nightsoil out the window and down into the public streets.

          Many Chinese have yet to internalize the long-term undesirability of such practices, not least of all because they were never made aware of it OR they feel they have more pressing things to be concerned about at the moment.

          Again, overall, I feel this should not be very difficult to realize on one’s own or to understand (I didn’t say “accept”) in general.

          • 宋易

            Let’s apply that principle elsewhere… probably the sunflower seed spitter beat the crap out of the street cleaner because nobody taught him to NOT do that.

            Now things are starting to make sense. Thanks, Kai.

          • Kai

            Come on, don’t play stupid. What’s your profit in doing so?

            There’s a difference between an act that indirectly harms others (littering) and one that directly harms others (beating the crap out of them).

            Tons of people in this world do things that are indirectly harmful to others. They do so usually inadvertently and out of ignorance for the ramifications of their behavior and actions.

            A person who beats the crap out of another is cognizant of the ramifactions of their action. They know it is to directly harm another. They do this out of malice.

            Why would you feign false equivalence with this?

          • 宋易

            Really? Are you sure he is cognizant of the ramifications? Because most of us in the forum seem to believe that anyone littering on the street should most definitely be cognizant of the ramifications of -that- behavior, and you’re here to shovel on a bunch of pedantic horse crap about why they’re not.

            Throwing trash on the street…. spitting…. pissing… attacking someone for the slightest provocation… smoking in places clearly designated non-smoking… its all part of a pattern called “not giving a shit.” It doesn’t require malicious intent to be classless and disrespectful. All it requires is to lack something…. such as, in this case, a shit. Or a fuck. Or a good goddamn.

            No, I don’t think just anyone would have attacked the street cleaner, he got unlucky confronting a particularly cruel person.

            But those types of behavior come from the same “don’t give a shit about anyone else” attitude that not all, but enormous numbers of Chinese tote around with them day to day. Whether its borne of willful ignorance or willful cruelty makes zero difference in the short term and little difference in the long term.

            Why are you saying I equated the two? I suggested they are related, I did not equate them at all. Why do you read other’s arguments so algebraically?

          • Kai

            Really? Are you sure he is cognizant of the ramifications?

            You’re arguing that a person who beats up another person isn’t aware they’re beating up another person, that the ramifications of the beating will be pain and possible injury? At most, he might not be fully cognizant of the extent of damage he could do, but that’s qualitatively different from how cognizant a litterbug is about the broader implications of people littering. And comparing that to a person who litters and subjectively thinks it isn’t a big deal?

            Because most of us in the forum seem to believe that anyone littering on the street should most definitely be cognizant of the ramifications of -that- behavior,

            Many of us on cS find littering reprehensible, but I wouldn’t bet that most of us “seem to believe that anyone littering on the street should most definitely be cognizant of the ramifications of” littering. Just because we think others should know or value the same things we do doesn’t mean they actually do. And I like to think there are plenty of intelligent people on here who realize that.

            For example, I think you should know the many mundane reasons why people in this world might litter. However, I still explain it in case you don’t or more likely have forgotten, possibly conveniently so.

            you’re here to shovel on a bunch of pedantic horse crap about why they’re not.

            So you find my explanation that many people litter because it was never socialized into them that they shouldn’t and have thus developed a long-term bad habit of doing so is “pedantic horse crap”? So if I explained to you why some people don’t know something you take for granted, it’d be horse crap as well? Like why Chinese people don’t know English?

            You’re being unreasonable.

            Throwing trash on the street…. spitting…. pissing… attacking someone for the slightest provocation… smoking in places clearly designated non-smoking… its all part of a pattern called “not giving a shit.”

            Sure, these people who do these things might be characterized as “not giving a shit”, but that doesn’t illuminate or differentiate the actual reasons they apparently don’t give a shit. I offered you some very reasonable and very REAL reasons. What is your profit in refusing to recognize them?

            It doesn’t require malicious intent to be classless and disrespectful.

            I never said malicious intent is “required” to be classless and disrespectful. I very clearly said we can definitely subjectively judge people as classless and disrespectful, but I want to point out something that I think is important for understanding the issue. Why are you telling me malicious intent isn’t required when I never said it was?

            No, I don’t think just anyone would have attacked the street cleaner, he got unlucky confronting a particularly cruel person.

            I agree that street cleaner was unlucky in confronting a particularly cruel person. Did I say anything to suggest I think “just anyone” would have attacked the street cleaner? I don’t think so. Did you misread me?

            But those types of behavior come from the same “don’t give a shit about anyone else” attitude that not all, but enormous numbers of Chinese tote around with them day to day.

            And my point is to consider WHY they have this attitude we arguably CAN characterize as “not giving a shit about anyone else”. What’s wrong or pedantic about this? Should we only knee-jerk judge and not consider the causes and contexts for a behavior we find so reprehensible? Wouldn’t that be important for understanding how we can discourage such behavior and socialize it out of society?

            Whether its borne of willful ignorance or willful cruelty makes zero difference in the short term and little difference in the long term.

            “Willful ignorance” is you choosing to characterize their ignorance as “willful”. When it comes to things like littering and public spitting or shitting, you have to differentiate between people who do something because they genuinely don’t think it is a big deal versus those who actually do think it is a big deal but pretend they don’t in order to do it anyway. The LATTER is “willful ignorance”. Those who think something is a big deal but do it anyway wouldn’t be “willful cruelty” but simply “willful” or “apathetic” and “inconsiderate” or “not giving a shit about others”.

            I’m not convinced the vast majority of the people (Chinese or otherwise) who litter think it is a big deal. To us it is, but to them, they don’t think it is. They are “ignorant” insofar as they either don’t realize or appreciate the negative ramifications of littering that we take for granted as being “obvious”.

            Why are you convinced that they know littering is a big deal, shouldn’t do it, but do it anyway because they are apathetic to others (aka “don’t give a shit about anyone else”)?

            You seem eager to escalate likely ignorance to unlikely malice in order to unfairly villify these people who litter. Why?

            Why are you saying I equated the two? I suggested they are related, I did not equate them at all.

            Because it seemed to me that you did. How else am I supposed to interpret your comment? What “principle” were you applying? Did I say anything to suggest the likely reason the sunflower seed spitter beat up the street cleaner because he wasn’t taught to not beat up people?

            It seems abundantly evident that you mischaracterized what I was saying and misapplied it in an effort to dismiss it. For what purpose I cannot for the life of me figure out. Hence, I asked you why.

            Why do you read other’s arguments so algebraically?

            Uh, what would “algebraically” mean here? What’s wrong with reading other’s arguments “algebraically” anyway? If “algebraically” means “logically”, what’s wrong with evaluating and questioning the logic of other’s arguments? Isn’t that what we should do to be respectful to them? Shouldn’t I try to understand what you’re saying and question when I don’t? Or should I just strawman you and pretend you said something you didn’t?

            Ryo expressed emphatically that he doesn’t understand why people litter. I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he actually does but was just exaggerating. His response suggested he really doesn’t understand why, so I tried to explain the likely reasons why: that these people simply weren’t socialized like we were, and their socialization guides their behavior. If we want their behavior to change, we have to change their socialization, and this isn’t something that will happen overnight. It didn’t for us, and it won’t for them. Socialization is a game measured in generations.

            You objected to my reason of difference in socialization, arguing that it is “more likely” these litterbugs “just don’t respect other people, don’t have class, and are about as mature and thoughtful as a 3 year old.” While I don’t think your colorful judgement of them contribute to understanding the underlying cause of their behavior, I charitably said, sure, we can judge them that way, but I still want to make a point about whether they are ignorant or malevolent. Why? Because you deal with ignorance and malice in different ways. There are different responses and solutions to problems based on whether it is ignorance or malice.

            What is the profit in only judging without seeking to understand? If we are given the opportunity to understand by insist on only judging, then aren’t we guilty of “willful ignorance”?

          • 宋易

            Sigh… what’s the point replying to you? From the very first line, you take every word literally, every word exactly at face value. You don’t understand (or maybe don’t pay attention to) nuance, figurative language, subtext…. nothing!

            Having a conversation with you is like cleaning up fog.

          • Kai

            Ironically I feel the same way about you in return. The difference is that I understand it is my responsibility to communicate what I’m thinking accurately to others and that accusing others of simply not understanding me is making excuses for my laziness.

            The bottom line is this:

            1. Ryo expressed a desire to know why people litter.

            2. I offered the most plausible, likely, reasonable reasons.
            3. Other than expressing contempt for these people who litter, do you have something to contribute to our understanding of why they litter?
            4. Keep in mind that “they don’t give a shit about others” is less a reason than an expression of contempt that begs the follow-up question: “so why don’t they give a shit about others when it comes to littering but they obviously do give a shit about others when it comes to other things?”

          • Teacher in China

            I’d add to this: people here know that a streetcleaner will be along soon enough to sweep it up, so they don’t really have to worry about it. Not saying that they consciously think that thought, but it’s just been their experience their whole life, so they’re used to it. I’d wager that if the numbers of streetcleaners went down, people would quickly realize that it’s impossible to live in a place where everybody throws their garbage on the ground.

  • AbC

    In a world where there are machines that can replace at least 10 human workers, those workers need to either train themselves to be more efficient (or move to another industry), or work for less than 10% of the running cost of the machine. Unfortunately, most people in China choose the latter.

  • Derp

    Most of the santionary workers are old people, who have a elementary education. Maybe they should fine people who liter lol

  • Mateusz82

    Chinese netizens are good at showing support online for sanitation workers, but words posted online aren’t going to help. People could refrain from shitting on the streets, tossing trash on the ground, and spitting, as this would make a terrible job slightly less terrible, but requires acting civilized,rather than just feigning civilization.

  • Kai

    You’re missing the point. Even back then, there were places where such practices were prevalent and places where it wasn’t socially acceptable. The question then is: why the difference?

    To many people in the world, the death penalty is “not acceptable now” and yet it persists in many places.

    There are reasons why.

    You can’t simply judge others by your values. You need to understand why something is the way it is before you can ever hope to influence change. You cannot simply go around expecting the world to magically conform to whatever you happen to think is right and wrong “now”, and judge them for their deviance.

    That’s called ethnocentrism.