Shopkeepers in Chinese-dominated parts of New York City have long favored a particular form of extra-legal justice in dealing with badly behaving customers: catch the offense （typically shoplifting） on tape, seize the offender's ID, take a photograph and threaten to paste the picture on the wall--along with the would-be thief's name and crime--unless he or she agrees to pay a penalty. The approach has its critics but also benefits from a certain logic: Why bother going through the rigmarole and uncertainty of criminal prosecution when shame works so much better?
Now a group of local officials in China has decided to apply that approach to an entire city.
Frustrated at the inability of traditional propaganda and fines to improve the behavior of its citizens, the government of Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, has teamed with local media to produce a city-wide name-and-shame list.
The inaugural list--released over the weekend and teased on the front page of the Wuhan Evening News with a blaring headline 'City Reveals First Group of 'Uncivilized Residents''--verbally tars and feathers 40 people for engaging in one of four unacceptable activities: careless running of red lights, careless parking, jaywalking （'careless crossing of the street'） and littering （'careless throwing around of garbage'）。
Offenders are named in three of the four lists （jaywalkers appear in photographs but aren't named）。 Perpetrators of traffic offenses have their license-plate numbers listed along with the time and location of the infraction, while the list for litterers offers offenders' ages as well as the punishment received （typically a 50 yuan fine）。
（The lists and photos have been duly reproduced by Chinese media, including the website of Phoenix TV）
The Wuhan Evening News promises a fresh set of lists every week, but the categories could change. Next time, the lists might include 'carelessly dumping sediment,' 'throwing things from high places' or any number of other inconsiderate activities, Yan Hong, head of the Wuhan Civilization Office, told Xinhua （in Chinese） on Wednesday.
Public reaction to the new initiative appears sharply divided. A number of online commenters have lauded the lists as a way to improve Chinese people's character . ' a topic of much discussion in the wake of the disaster in Japan, which has produced an outpouring of admiration in China for the discipline and orderliness of regular Japanese people. Others, however, have been less enthusiastic.
Many seem to bristle at the idea of government officials, who in China are often assumed corrupt until proven otherwise, labeling other people uncivilized.
'Work up a black list for the government, then its fair,' one commenter writing under the name Xiaosi Dake said on the microbbloging site Sina Weibo.
Many others worry that the list represents an infringement on privacy, with some questioning whether it's legal. 'Publicizing a list of uncivilized residents is a misuse of power!' Guo Pulong, an account based in the southern city of Shenzhen wrote on his microblog. 'What legal basis does this have?'
As with the shame tactics employed by the shopkeepers in New York, the answer to the legal question in Wuhan isn't immediately clear.
For his part, the man in charge of the lists suggests people focus more of their attention on the system's intended goal. 'Exposure is just the means, not the end,' the Civilization Office's Mr. Yan tells Xinhua. 'All of this is to build an enduring mechanism for establishing civilization and improving the character of residents on multiple fronts.'
2011-03-28 14:56 编辑：icetonado