Beijingers Now Being Shamed on Giant Screens In a Bid to Curb to Jaywalking

Although the People's Republic of China doesn't hold political elections, its citizens nonetheless vote with their feet ... a clout they are using to jaywalk en masse, commonly disrupting the flow of traffic in cities all across China.

Chinese authorities have attempted to curtail this mass phenomenon with a multitude of traffic safety campaigns to little effect. With punishments like fines and warnings doing little to quell the stampede, Beijing has decided to take its enforcement of red light runners to the next level by publicly shaming them.

This past Monday, Beijing installed a giant video screen at a Tongzhou intersection that live broadcasts images of jaywalkers illegally crossing the road.

Pedestrians that dare to run the red light at Jingjingong Road will have their image put on a two-by-four-meter-wide electronic screen while receiving a stern scolding.

READ: Beijing to Slow Down Traffic by Confusing Drivers With Optical Illusions

"You have crossed against a red light, please return behind the pedestrian crossing line," blares a recorded voice for everyone in the intersection to hear.

Fear of shame is a powerful inhibitor in China's face-based society in which one's social standing is derived from the respect given by your peers. And yet, even though the threat of public humiliation looms over them, some Beijing pedestrians are still choosing to jaywalk anyways.

A reporter with Beijing Daily witnessed several people running against the red light despite the newly-installed video counter-measures. When stopped by traffic police afterwards, the violators pledged their ignorance when asked about the giant screen or simply demurred that they were "in a rush."

READ: Beijing Cracks Down on Car Horns With Automated Noise Detectors

Meanwhile, a reporter with Beijing Youth Daily counted 14 jaywalkers at the same intersection during a half-hour of Monday's evening rush hour.

Even as China welcomes facial recognition technology as part of its advancement into automation and widespread surveillance, the system is not currently being used as a punitive measure against jaywalkers, although local police say traffic violating pedestrians may have their social credit scores deducted by the system.

Publicly-shaming jaywalkers with a giant video screen is just one of the techniques employed by Chinese cities to try to keep Chinese pedestrians from disobeying traffic signals. Besides erecting gates that physically block pedestrians, Chinese cities have also installed "mist gates" that spray water to keep pedestrians at bay (shown above).

READ: Beijing to Stop Red Light Runners by Making Children Dance in the Middle of Traffic

These measures are in addition to the traffic safety warden, a person who enforces traffic order, and the traffic light, which determines the order of the intersection. 

Whether or not the public video screen is successful at deterring jaywalking, it seems like Andy Warhol's most famous quote has a slightly different meaning in the Celestial Kingdom: when it comes to jaywalking in Tongzhou, "Everybody has their 15 minutes of shame."

More stories from this author here.

E-Mail: charlesliu1 (at) qq (dot) com
Twitter: @Sinopath

Images: e23, Beijing Youth Daily, Sina News