This week Haikou, a city in Hainan Island, annnounced that it had established a no-fly-zone. No, this isn’t an escalation of tensions in the South China Sea. But certainly it looks like the start of some serious one-upmanship in municipal hygiene.
Haikou’s no-fly-zone pertains to its public loos and it comes only days after Beijing’s local government announced it would now tolerate only two flies per public convenience.
Newspapers and netizens have since been lampooning officials for adopting a ‘Great Leap Forward’ mentality when it comes to public bathroom hygiene. During that traumatic historical period, provinces tried to outdo another in agricultural output and steel production to curry favour with Chairman Mao. Now, it’s all about which city can guarantee the fewest flies in its public toilets.
“Who cares if it is one fly, two or even three, this is not the 1960s, just do something about the smell,” one Beijing-based Sina Weibo user wrote. The capital has over 5,000 public toilets and in the case of hutong dwellers they may be the only bathrooms they have.
An unidentified official quoted in The Beijing Daily defended the rule, saying that counting flies was a “visual, convenient and common” way to judge a toilet’s condition. But that didn’t stop the jokes: “Management guy sees two flies go into a toilet. He hangs a very small sign on the door of the lavatory. It states: ‘Occupied.’”
© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.
Exclusively sponsored by HSBC.
The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.