"Rude? Creative? Necessary? Here are some ways wrongdoers have been deterred in China "
A handwritten notice on a double-decker bus in Wuhan, Hubei province, has provoked some to wonder whether warning signs in China are too “rude.”
The notice, written at the entrance to the upper deck, reads: “The old, the young, the ill, and the disabled are strictly forbidden to go upstairs, or must take responsibility for the consequences.”
Local paper the Chutian Metropolis Daily set out to investigate, after complaints about the brusque wording circulated on social media. According to the the newspaper, the sign was present on several buses, and written by the drivers themselves, who didn’t intend to be rude but rather wanted to send a strongly-worded warning for people to take care of themselves (and not blame the driver if they fall).
But the Wuhan incident is small potatoes compared to some signs, whose creatively mean, sometimes-hilarious, occasionally bizarre verbiage have sporadically featured in Chinese media.
Take this road sign, where speeding takes on mythological significance:
Buildings sites must always pay attention to safety, so here’s one that chose to remind staff of all the possible consequences of a workplace accident (perhaps a similar warning should be written for lax bosses):
Smoking has now been banned in many public places, but sometimes a simple “No Smoking” won’t do the trick:
Fire-prevention is especially important around the Qingming Festival (“Tomb-Sweeping Day”), when people burn offerings to their ancestors. One county in Hubei has come up with a very topical punishment for Qingming fire-starters:
Not all signs are about forbidding things. Most regional governments care a great deal about attracting investment, with carefully worded signs like:
High schools like to motivate students to study hard for their college entrance exams. Many turn to cheery signs to do so—some take it too far:
Seen any extreme signs? Feel free to share with us.
Cover image from caijing.com. The sign says: “You will be taken into prison if smoke rises from your field.”