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Cities across China are listening to the complaints of commuters and ordering owners of noisy mobile phones and music devices to turn them down and wear earphones. Photo: Shutterstock

Chinese city plans to ban loud music and videos on subway

  • Kunming tests support for new rules that demand travellers wear earphones when using noisy electronic devices

Kunming, the capital of southwestern Yunnan province, plans to become the third mainland Chinese city to ban public transport users from listening to loud music, watching noisy videos or talking loudly on phones.

Acting on complaints from passengers, the city is testing public support for a change to its subway passenger code of conduct that would ban excessive noise, the municipal transport bureau said last week.

At least two other cities, Beijing and Lanzhou – the capital of northwestern Gansu province – have barred travellers from talking loudly or turning up their electronic devices on the underground.

Kunming’s proposed amendment includes a ban on loud conversation, with administrative penalties for people found breaking the rules. The public have until September 5 to give feedback on the proposal.

“Some passengers ignore other people and play their electronic devices with the sound on, causing a great disturbance to others. Such behaviour needs to be regulated,” the bureau said.

The proposal was popular on social media.

“I’d suggest operators of high-speed trains and civil aviation also adopt this ban,” one user of the Weibo microblogging service wrote. “Don’t you have the money to buy earphones?”

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“I’m strongly in favour – the most effective way to improve our manners is to give clear rules,” another user said.


Lanzhou, which opened its first subway line in June, banned on passengers from playing devices without wearing headphones from the day the first train rolled.

Also in June, Beijing issued a code of conduct for public transport passengers that included a ban on excessive noise. Penalties there included personal credit system demerits, black marks that could be removed by working as a subway volunteer for an hour.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Kunming seeks to turn off passengers’ loud music