Planet China

Pax Tyrannica

They are known as the “tyrants” of high-speed rail – passengers who take train seats they haven’t booked and then go to extreme lengths to hold on to them.

The latest case to go viral is that of a Ms Zhou, a 32 year-old travelling from Yongzhou in Henan to Shenzhen in Guangdong earlier this month.

Zhou sat in a window seat and refused to move when the rightful owner showed up.

“I have a ticket with this number on it,” she screamed at the conductor. She then blanked him when he explained that the number pertains to the whole row, while the letter on her ticket indicated that her booking was an aisle seat.

She was eventually fined Rmb200 ($29) for causing a disturbance and banned from using the high-speed rail network for 180 days.

In another example in August a man travelling from Jinan in Shandong to Beijing took over a window seat he was not entitled to and then pretended to need a wheelchair when attendants tried to move him.

He made a public apology but a few days later he released a video making light of his antics.

The hashtag ‘High-Speed Tyrant Woman’ soon derived more than 450 million views and netizens paired the troublesome travellers up in a series of “train tyrant” love memes, saying the two are made for each other.

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