China, as we all know, is one vast, filthy pit. From its air pollution to its lead poisoning, China has earned a worldwide reputation as the Goliath of health hazards. However, Westerners visiting China for the first time are often unprepared for a different sort of dirtiness: poor human hygiene.
When Americans complain about their countrymen’s plebeian habits, they do so with a sense of hyperbole, because even the most elitist misanthrope recognizes that at the end of the day, the average American commoner will adhere to basic Western standards of cleanliness and decency.
Chinese commoners (i.e., peasants and migrant workers) are an entirely different story. With their overflowing hole-in-the-ground toilets and public spitting habits, they horrify international travelers with their cavalier disregard for Western manners and hygiene. And since they comprise the majority of the Chinese population, they are unavoidable. Americans who joke about hating commoners learn very quickly in China that hatred for plebeians can be a very real thing.
Here are a few blogs detailing some unsavory Chinese plebeian practices:
1. Alabama Dan
description of a typical public Chinese bathroom:
A room with no walls and several slots in the floor. The floor is covered in piss and shit and the slots reveal small slides covered in shit and toilet paper that lead down to a massive pile of shit, connected on the other side by the girls slots which I can only assume to be the same. I straddle one slot while men squat down doing their business on either side of me and I attempt not to pee all over them. Staring down at the massive pile of shit and holding my breath, I am rapidly loosing my appetite.
typical Chinese public toilets
on public spitting:
Imagine this: you’re walking along the street like any normal person would. Suddenly, the old man in front of you clears his throat and hocks out a spit right on the street AND continues walking! Then, the two ladies who are walking on the other side also decide something’s bugging [their throats] and go KUAAAGGGG!!! and PTOOOI…
12 bad habits of Chinese people:
– Spitting everywhere
– Jostling, pushing in, jumping ahead in lines
– “Light” awareness of rules and laws
– It’s impossible to get out of the subway door — because people entering the subway car don’t let the exiting passengers get off first (same applies to elevators)
– People are too impatient crossing the road, i.e. they jaywalk everywhere, causing traffic jams etc.
– The taxis suck (don’t know their way, try to cheat passengers etc.)
– Excessive swearing and filthy language
– People don’t smile readily
– The road signs don’t show you the way
– Nobody ever says “sorry”
– Beijingers treat foreigners better than people from the countryside
– People say one thing and do another
on children’s toilet habits:
Children learn bad toilet habits from young. They will literally stoop and pee or defecate on the street, despite there being a public toilet 10 metres away….Once I was on a train and there was a toddler who wanted to use the toilet. Rather than take the child to the toilet 5 metres away, the mother opened a bottle and had the child pee in that.
Chinese child urinating in public
on public spitting and nose blowing:
The most noticeable dirty habit of many Chinese people is spitting. Chinese men especially have the disgusting habit of making loud hawking sounds and spitting the contents of their actions on the road, pavement or wherever they happen to be. While it is mostly men, women too can be seen participating in this vulgar habit. Some people even spit on the bus, and onto the floors of restaurants and public toilets. Many Chinese people also seem to blow their noses in a most indiscreet and vulgar fashion. Handkerchiefs or tissues appear to be too much trouble. Instead people are often seen to use their thumb and forefinger to press their nose and loudly blow out the contents onto the street.