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July 23, 2013

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Naughty schoolkid punishment awaits city jaywalkers

JAYWALKERS will be treated like naughty schoolchildren and forced to read out traffic regulations to police officers if they refuse a fine, as part of a citywide crackdown on the problem.

The punishment has been tried in Yangpu District and is now being introduced across Shanghai, police said.

As "face" is very important in China, many people said they would feel very embarrassed to be seen reading aloud the regulations - printed in newspapers - in public.

Some office workers also said they would rather be fined than having to stop and recite the rules when they are rushing to work in the morning.

"It reminds me being punished by elementary school teachers many years ago when I hadn't done my homework," said a pedestrian, surnamed Wang, caught jaywalking at a busy crossroad in Yangpu District yesterday.

"It was really embarrassing," Wang said, vowing that he wouldn't jaywalk again.

Traffic police mete out a similar punishment to bicycle and moped riders who run red lights, police said.

Officers said jaywalking has become a serious problem, with fines of 10 yuan (US$1.63) failing to curb it.

By the end of May, 48 people had been killed this year in more than 200 accidents involving either jaywalking or scooters and mopeds running red lights, traffic police said. Some 200 were injured.

Most offenders are middle-aged or seniors unaware of traffic regulations, police said.

Many also get involved in lengthy arguments with police, refusing to pay fines. In some cases, officers let them go, so they can get back to their duties, police said.

Traffic light violations have become so frequent in China that phrases like "collectively walking the red light" have been coined.


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