Boy’s antics on Guangzhou subway cause a stir

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 3:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 9:15pm

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A photo of a boy relieving himself on a subway train in Guangzhou has stunned internet users across China, sparking anger and waves of condemnation against the parents, and the subway system.

The photo was posted on social media website Sina Weibo on Saturday night by a user called Li Xiaoleng S (李小冷S).

“Yes, you are not imagining it. That boy is using the corner as a toilet… and his father was standing calmly next to him,” the user wrote alongside the photo.

In the photo, the boy is squatting on the floor of a subway train; his trousers are down to his knees and he is holding paper tissues. His supposed father is not identified, but a few passengers appear to be standing with their backs to the boy.

The weibo poster said the photo was taken on the No 3 route in Guangzhou.

The message was reposted more than 17,000 times as of Tuesday, and had more than 4,000 comments. It has also renewed debate about whether China's economic growth has improved public behaviour in addition to boosting living standards. 

“Don’t tell me there is no toilet built in the station,” one user said.

Another user suggested the boy’s parents should be forced to do community service in the station for 10 days as punishment.

Despite overwhelming comments condemning the parents, a few people asked whether the subway stations had enough toilets.

“No one likes to take a dump on a subway train. [Subway operators] should build toilets wherever convenient for passengers,” a weibo user said.

His comment immediately provoked angry responses from people who said the number of toilets does not justify the boy’s behaviour.

Mrs Chen, public relation official of Guangzhou Metro, admitted there are not sufficient toilets in stations. She told SCMP that only 16 stations, out of a total of 131 operating stations in the Guangzhou subway system, have public toilets installed.

“Many stations, especially the old ones, did not have public toilets constructed because of technical issues,” she said.
But in 73 stations that don't have public toilets, facilities can be found within 50 to 300 metres, Chen added.

She suggested that passengers contact subway employees for guidance. “Our employees can direct them to the nearest public toilets, or let them simply use the employee bathrooms,” she said.

Subway system in China had seen similar incidents before. 21cbh.com collected several photos circulating online that show parents encouraging their toddlers to relieve themselves on trains in other Chinese cities.