Why do people spit in public

Bertolt Brecht once recommended to the world's governments that if they were dissatisfied with their people, then they should simply choose a new one. China's Communist Party has been working on making people better since it came to power in 1949, but because it is not an option for voting, it has instead switched to one educational campaign after another. "Raising the quality of the citizens", so a much-quoted slogan, is a popular sport among Communist Party cadres. A specially created bureaucracy works day in and day out with one major goal: the "civilization" of the people. For example, the fact that the Chinese no longer spit on the street, that they no longer jostle in line and that, for heaven's sake, on their next trip to Egypt, as they did in 2013, they will not smear the Luxor temple with graffiti again.

There is one or the other success story: since the Olympic Games in 2008, for example, people in Beijing have actually queued politely and orderly when they get on the subway. Before 2008, however, they had also practiced this for years with a government-proclaimed "queuing day" - it was the 11th of each month. Most of the campaigns, however, fade away without a sound: people are still spitting on the streets of Beijing, the bellies of the street men are still bare in summer, and all over the country people go for a walk in broad daylight in pajamas.

In the cities, the local "Office of the Commission for the Building of Spiritual Civilization" is usually responsible for the education of the subjects. In Shanghai in 2017, the office published a new list of undesirable behaviors for the first time in 20 years, which also took account of the changing times: "Don't waste food!" and "Don't disturb your neighbors with your pets!" were new. This week, the east China city of Suqian made the news. Last year, the city was recognized by the central government as a "national civilized city" for special merits in raising the quality of its citizens. At the beginning of the week, officials there presented a new list of "20 rules for a civilized Suqian" after three years, and now Internet users are discussing the changes (and not just mockingly). "Please don't smack your lips!" for example - still prominently placed on the old list - no longer appears. To this end, a new rule has been added: "Stop trying to persuade people to drink too much!" Quanjiu, "persuading people to drink," is a popular ritual at Chinese banquets. Saying goodbye to it will not be easy for everyone in Suqian, the city is home to one of the largest liquor distilleries in China.

It was reassured on the Internet that the classics are all still on it: "Stand in line and don't push yourselves!" - "Don't spit on the floor!" - "Do not wear slippers or pajamas in public!" Oh, one commented: "They'll never run out of work."