A three-day-old regulation that lets police fine people for spitting or littering in public has left more Beijingers confused than convinced the measure will help clean up the city's image. However, it seemed to be having some effect in popular public venues such as Tiananmen Square and the Wangfujing shopping district yesterday, where there was a distinct lack of spitting despite it being day two of a week-long National Day break, and the areas being full of tourists. But in a subway station next to the square, spit greased the floors yesterday morning and a child urinated on the wall as his parents watched. Within five minutes, four people had spat as they walked or cycled past the Ritan Park gates in central Beijing. According to Xinhua, the Beijing City Clean Environment and Sanitation Regulations allow authorities to fine people for spitting, urinating, littering - including dropping cigarette butts - and posting advertisements in illegal places. A ticket seller at Ritan Park said the new rules were in full force, adding that fines for spitting would range from 20 yuan (HK$18.80) to 50 yuan. Xinhua said posting advertisements carried a 1,000 yuan fine. Xinhua did not mention who among Beijing's ranks of police, guards, health authorities and neighbourhood supervisors could issue fines. People surveyed yesterday also wondered whether it was still legal to spit on the shrubbery in public parks. Some suggested the rule was intended to raise Beijing's image as it prepares for the 2008 Olympics. A retired Beijing resident, who visits Ritan Park daily, supported the law to improve sanitation but said she had heard about similar laws in the past and wondered what was new about the edict. She blamed people from outside Beijing for the spitting. 'In this part of Beijing, the quality of people is higher,' she said. 'Most people know better.' Taxi driver Li Ping said visitors from outside the capital might not yet know about the rules. Some of the men in Ritan Park, which draws a mostly local crowd, did not know about the law or did not know the details. A teenager in the park struggled to remember hearing about the law and guessed it had not been fully implemented. Xinhua said the introduction of the rules followed a month-long city clean-up for National Day. Similar image-enhancement campaigns have included an early-summer effort to make men wear their shirts on hot days and largely ineffective programmes to teach service workers English. City officials are also taking on crime and street cleaning before the 16th Communist Party Congress starts on November 8.