• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 8:22pm
NewsHong Kong

Controversy over urinating toddler threatens to escalate as state media, angry net users weigh in

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 7:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 11:45am

State media weighed into the debate over a mainland child urinating in a Hong Kong street on Thursday, stating that both the youngster’s parents and those who so vocally objected to their actions needed to “raise their level of civilisation”.

In a commentary published in its overseas edition, the People’s Daily questioned whether the bystanders who captured the young boy’s act on camera had acted properly, while calling for a need for “mutual civilisation and understanding” between tourists and Hongkongers.

Meanwhile, in a move which could further escalate tensions between Hong Kong and the mainland, an anonymous internet user at one of China's most popular online forums, Tianya.cn, has urged mainland parents to take their children to Hong Kong next week and let them urinate in the streets. 

"Bring children to Hong Kong and let them urinate in Hong Kong's streets. Let's see who will come and take photos. They will see it as natural after they have been familiarised with the act," user Haijiao No68 wrote.

The incident over the urinating toddler, reported earlier this week, reignited a debate about the behaviour of mainland tourists in the city, dividing opinion on whether the parents were in the right or wrong in allowing their child to urinate in a busy Mong Kok street.

Since being posted on social media earlier this week the video and images have drawn more than one million comments and reposts on Weibo alone, while the incident sparked heated debate on both Facebook and Twitter.

Using a conciliatory tone, the editorial stated that due to sheer numbers alone, not all tourists would behave badly.

“It is an act of civilisation to understand others’ difficulties,” it read. “No one occupies the moral high ground of civilisation.

There were over 30 million mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong last year, so it was inevitable some of them would not act up to modern standards."

There were over 30 million mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong last year, so it was inevitable some of them would not act up to modern standards
People’s Daily commentary

It added: “It is normal for kids to have difficulties holding in their urine. If there is a long queue at the washroom … one can understand the difficulties of being parents.”

The commentary described the toilet incident as “just a trivia in society which could have easily blown away in the wind”, but added when scuffles and discrimination comes into play, it highlights a wider problem in society.

The piece concluded: “It takes a lot of self-reflection and learning to achieve civilisation, while experiences are also required for travelling. Both the tourists and [the people at] the destination need to raise their level of civilisation to get along with each other. The crux of it is understanding.”

The commentary came after an opinion piece in the Global Times the previous day criticised the pair who shot the footage for being “more uncivilised” than the family allowing the child to go to the toilet by the roadside.

“Those locals cannot face the fact that the difference between the pace of development of Hong Kong and mainland coastal cities is rapidly diminishing… their attitudes have been distorted, losing patience towards the mainland Chinese,” the state-run newspaper said.

The dispute erupted on Sai Yeung Choi Street when the parents allowed their child to relieve himself by the road, leading to a fierce quarrel with passers-by.

Surrounded by onlookers, the woman desperately explained to the crowd that they had found a public toilet but saw there was a long queue, so had no other choice but to let their child go on the street.

“The kid was going to pee in his pants, what do you want me do?” the mother asked the young men before a scuffle broke out and the parents attempted to snatch the memory card from one young man’s camera.

The husband and wife, both two-way permit holders, were subsequently arrested on suspicion of theft and assault respectively, Hong Kong police said.

The woman was later released on bail and was ordered to report back to police in mid-May pending an investigation, while her husband was released unconditionally.


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This article is now closed to comments

I am not from Hong Kong but from Europe. I travel a lot, and I have never seen children urinate or **** in the street of cities. How can be said this is "totally natural"? Why can children of other nations manage it and Mainland kids cannot? Try to do this in New York on Time Square. Will the New Yorker shouting at the the parents of the urinating kid be also called "a discrimnating Hongkonger? It is true that only a small fragment of Mainlanders shows not appropriate behavior when travelling abroad, but it is wrong to kill all criticism of this behavior by making it a "discrimination by Hongkongers". The one who violates rules of appropriate behavior should not point at those who address this!
Well let's go to Tienaman square in Beijing and urinate in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao. TRY TO UNDERSTAND THAT!
2 points to note:-
(1) The majority of Hong Kongers would LOVE and cherish dearly the idea of Hong Kong being boycotted by Mainland China. Yes Please! Please boycott us. Can't wait!

(2) People finding the majority of mainland Chinese travellers to be reproachable is a global phenomenon and not just isolated to Hong Kongers... If mainlanders wish to wage a war of words with Hong Kongers they should do so with the rest of the world because Hong Kongers' views are shared by people in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Maldives, etc., etc.
Marcus T Anthony
"No one occupies the moral high ground of civilisation." What a pointless comment. Has postmodern relativism finally arrived in China? God help us all. Look. You don't go to the toilet in public places. It's standard in every country I have ever been to. If "Beijing" thinks all values are equal, it should have no problem with the values of democratic reform. Glad we cleared that one up.
mutual civilization ? so let us understand this. It is basically ok to start urinating and defecating in busy city streets of beijing and shanghai ? as long as we all mutual understand that this is acceptable then we should adapt accordingly.
As a Chinese from mainland, I am gonna give my two cents just to diversify the opinions in the comment section a little bit.
Fact: All sane Chinese knows it's wrong to pee on the street, alright, that's a fact. Having that said, an online poll shows that about 80% Chinese side with the "mainlander family" this time, not because they agree peeing on street is okay or should be encouraged, but are mad at Hong Kong residents' double standards and merciless treatment on the "supposed-to-be "brothers and sisters."
Double standards: tons of drunk white guys pee on the street after getting out of bars and nobody, nobody dared to say **** about it let alone taking photos of their private parts like what they did to the two-year-old. In west, such as U.S. or even Paris, I ve seen tons of people with dogs left dog **** on the ground without slightest intention to pick it up or clean it. Well back to this case the mother who used a dipper to catch the waste of the two-year-old and left no stain on the ground before she put the waste into a pre-prepared garbage bag, was treated like she has committed the world's most serious crime. So obviously, mainlanders understand that Hong Kong residents think westerners and even dogs more highly than mainland Chinese, and they feel mad as well as hurt because mainlanders used to be told by the government that they should be brothers and sisters with those people.I am not hating on Hong Kong people or anything, just adding a different perspective
this is y huggie pull-ups were designed.
I am in my mid-thirties and sometimes find myself cross-eyed trying to find a public toilet.... MTR public toilets are available, but usually hidden and you have to ask for a key and wait for someone to take you there. I am not excusing peeing in public, it's disrespectful and gross. However, perhaps we should be wondering about the shortage of public toilets.... Tourism supports HK's economy, but the govt has responsibility to ensure our infrastructure can handle increased use. 30m tourists = time for more public toilets!
For once I applaud the cops for doing the right thing: arrest is totally justified - If these mainlanders were caught in New York time square doing the same thing (violent retaliation), including public urination, they could be locked up 48 hours without bail and the kid to social service. Yeah, that's when they would whine and beg for mercy to their embassy for help. The law abroad does not take kindly to felony charges. They should have a true taste of the American dream.
Taking pictures of people in public places is a legal right. Defecating in public places is always wrong.



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