If you've ever wondered why there are so many young children who urinate freely on the streets of Chinese cities, wonder no more. Apparently it's because their countrymen really don't mind.
According to a Sina.com poll, some 64% of users said they can understand the need for children to pee on the streets in certain situations. Another 24% said they it didn't mind the phenomenon. Only 11% of respondents, which as of early Wednesday afternoon totaled 128,000, said they objected to the sight.
Why is Sina polling people about children urinating in the first place?
A quick scan of the top Chinese headlines offers a hint. For the past couple days, virtually every news portal in the country has devoted top real estate to the story of yet another fight in Hong Kong over a child from the mainland evacuating his bladder in public.Why is Sina polling people about children urinating in the first place?
According to police, the fracas began on April 15, when a mainland couple allowed their two-year-old son to urinate on a street in Mongkok. A 29-year-old man surnamed Wong, disgusted at the tableau, began taking photographing the scene, which in turn enraged the father, who snatched his cell phone. When someone tried to come to Mr. Wong's aid, the boy's mother subsequently sprang into action, ramming their stroller into the interceder and scratching his hand.
Both mainland parents were arrested on charges of theft and assault, respectively, Hong Kong police said. The mother is due to report back to court next month.
Bits of the altercation were captured on video and naturally shortly thereafter went viral. ('Do you have a child? What should I do? What do you want me to do?' shouted the mother, over the sounds of her child's wails.)
The topic was a top-trending item on Weibo this week, prompting plenty of discussion on mainland portals--as well as controversy, as one well-known TV journalist who weighed into the conversation found. 'Not exposing a child's body in public places is common sense for parents. If you can't find a bathroom, find a corner to go discreetly in,' wrote Rose Luqiu Luwei on her verified Weibo account yesterday. By Wednesday, her remark had already triggered more than 175,000 replies, many furious with her condemnation of the mainland parents, with some calling the journalist a 'Hong Kong dog.' (Though Ms. Luqiu was raised in Shanghai, she moved to Hong Kong several decades ago.)
On Wednesday, the state-run Global Times also weighed in, citing multiple professors who said Hong Kong locals were too hysterical. Hong Kong people were 'overdramatic in this case,' Zhu Shihai, professor at the Central Institute of Socialism, told the paper.
Part of the anger in mainland China stems from the fact that the couple actually held a diaper beneath their child as he relieved himself. They were desperate, the argument goes--the mother had no choice, and at least she tried to be sanitary about it.
Be as that may, bodily functions are often a flashpoint in relations between mainland Chinese and residents of the former British colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 but continues to maintain its own separate political and economic systems, as well as its own distinct cultural identity (including an aversion to public urination).
Previous mainland China-Hong Kong potty wars have included a family who allowed their son to pee in a plastic bottle while dining at local restaurant chain Tsui Wah, sparking outrage, as well as sundry incidents involving children answering the call of nature while riding Hong Kong's usually spotless subway system.
And that's not even getting into the other issues that have tested mainland-Hong Kong relations in recent years, including fights over mainland Chinese buying up Hong Kong's milk powder, spars over their ability to give birth in Hong Kong's hospitals, and anger over the millions of mainland tourists who regularly swamp the streets (some 41 million visited last year).
But if Chinese citizens don't generally mind seeing someone relieve themselves on the street--after all, many of those streets were countryside not too long ago--their government, at least, may be helping encourage a change. This week in Beijing, a government-backed app designed to help people find the nearest public toilet went live. And if that doesn't do the trick, perhaps a toilet boom will: state media says another 2,000 public toilets are slated for construction by 2015.
这一事件成为本周微博上的最热门话题，在中国大陆的各大门户网站上引发了诸多讨论，同时也引发了争论。一位知名电视记者的表态就引发了陈枪舌战。闾丘露薇(Rose Luqiu Luwei)昨天在其经过身份验证的微博上写道：不要在公开场合暴露孩子身体是做父母常识，找不到厕所，找个角落避一避。截至周三，她的上述言论已获得了超过17.5万条回复，许多人对于她谴责这对来自中国大陆的父母感到愤怒，一些人还将闾丘露薇称作“香港狗”。（闾丘露薇在上海长大，很多年前移居香港。）