China’s Toiletgate

You simply have to read it for yourself.

The Discussion: 25 Comments

On a useless but maybe funny side note, the voice of the lady who hosts “hongse fengbao” is so scary, I simply can’t watch it. I have my suspicions that she was either a man in the past… either that or she needs to quit smoking…

September 7, 2006 @ 3:51 am | Comment

Yes, you are right. The presenter of “hong se feng bao” was ever a man in the past, and her name is Li Jing (Lee Ching). Anyway, the owner of this blog should be aware of this, as he is currently in Taipei. Back to the topic, I am not irritated at all by the content appeared in the talk show, since those facts mentioned are reality. They didn’t make it up, they just somehow misunderstood our Mainland China a little bit. Long-term seperation and independence from each other caused the cultural differences between China and Taiwan, that’s all.

September 7, 2006 @ 6:10 am | Comment

I think this is because this woman judge China as a developed country standard. Everyone knows that China’s GDP is below that of Philippine although China’s real living conditional is much higher than Phillipines. China is big and each place is different.
We can not judge China in one of its places.

September 7, 2006 @ 8:46 am | Comment

That’s all

September 7, 2006 @ 8:50 am | Comment

I think the real anger is her comment on Yasakuni shrine. She said the dispute is between the those Chinese and Japanese. It does not involve Taiwan

September 7, 2006 @ 10:27 am | Comment

In some ways this story is related to the promise made to Tessa Jowell that journalists would be free to report on whatever they wished during the 2008 Olympics.

Given that there are invariably pieces during every Olympic games picking at logistical problems or some aspect of the host city that’s not up to scratch, I wonder how the Chinese will react to the first CNN video that gently mocks some aspect of Beijing life. The Olympic press corp are there for just a few weeks and may not be as familiar (or jaded) to the quirks of China as the resident journalist community. There is an all too real possibility of broadsides in the foreign press over such things as pollution, traffic, and spectator behavior. (I was at the Real Madrid game in Beijing a few years ago–egads!)

I can appreciate why the Chinese are sensitive to foreign criticism, there’s a history there, but at some point the hypersensitivity becomes the story and I’m not sure that’s the image China wishes to project to the world.

September 7, 2006 @ 11:25 am | Comment


Well Yasukuni doesn’t involve Taiwan (generally at least), because most Taiwanese don’t have a problem with Japan. If Chinese are annoyed at the idea that anyone could look past Yasukuni and get on with Japan anyway, that’s their problem.

In many respects I rather think people are annoyed by her statements about the lavs because they’re true – they’re a source of shame for many Chinese. The economic boom is a source of pride for them, yet they can’t get basic sanitation right.

After all this is China we’re talking about, and we know how defensive Chinese can get about flaws in their country even when they are 100% true.

September 7, 2006 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

Sorry…I’m too busy cracking up at the screencap, what with the model’s sweeping hand gesture, her look of utter disgust, and the caption that reads “mealy arses numbering in the hundreds”. I know what she’s talking about, and yes, it’s not a pretty sight. (Though not as bad as the troughs themselves…okay, now I’ve thoroughly disgusted you all.) I suspect, though, there’s some exaggeration there for effect. I mean really, that many bums? (And I thought models don’t defecate. I mean, I hardly ever see them eat! :-))

Potty humour aside, yes and mainlanders are especially sensitive to criticism from the Taiwanese, whom they feel have always looked down on them as uncivilized rubes (and perhaps they’d be correct in that perception. ;-))

New job gives me Fridays off, so I’m in a particularly buoyant (and silly) mood. Have a great weekend, everybody.

September 7, 2006 @ 3:04 pm | Comment

1. Nausicaa, my reaction to your above comment is: as I’ve said to you recently in the duckpond, please don’t be horrified when I tell you that I’m really beginning to like you. Please don’t be horrified by that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

2. About the original topic of this thread, all I can say is what Kenny and Kyle of South Park said about such things: “This is gettin’ pretty f—ed up.”

September 7, 2006 @ 4:02 pm | Comment

The comment that china is a developing country…true. But the income in Beijing is actually mid-level ($6000 or more depending on which economist you ask), so Beijing really shouldn’t have an excuse for crappy toilets (no pun intended). And when I complain about America’s obesity problems with my non-american friends, does america get pissed at me? no. Because America is not a country of whiny babies. Grow up, netizens, and learn to take criticism.

September 7, 2006 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

Ivan, you’re more than welcome to contribute more high-brow topics to TPD.

September 7, 2006 @ 5:10 pm | Comment

haha…thats nothing…

i went to the convention centre in beijing one time when my company was hiring some new sales people, and i had to use the facilities. i didnt know wheather to laugh or cry. yes, none of the lav doors were shut, and all were full. the farmerish patrons were squating on the western style toilets and deficating all over them. i guess their aim with that sort of toilet is as bad as mine with the traditional squat variety. the toilets were covered with feces. it was absolutely appalling!

September 7, 2006 @ 6:38 pm | Comment

OK, this time it’s not storm in a teacup. It’s storm in a lav. Great. That makes my day. I don’t know why I bother.

September 7, 2006 @ 8:01 pm | Comment


“look past Yasukuni and get on with Japan anyway, that’s their problem.”

I don’t think getting along with Japan necessitates looking past Yasukuni. I hope the two Asian neighbors could get along, but likewise, I believe that the visits to Yasukuni should stop.

September 7, 2006 @ 8:18 pm | Comment

Well just because it helps to talk about these things, the most misguided I have seen was in a beijing macdonalds where someone laid cable in the capsule style urinal. It would have sucked to clean that up.

So it is not just the facilities that are lacking in beijing but the know-how, perhaps posters are needed showing the method of operation.

September 7, 2006 @ 11:03 pm | Comment

correction, it is an insensitive comment on the nanjing massacre. she also made the bathroom comment bathrooms by tiananmen and the shanghai convention center. i know from personal experience that is not true.

i think what got the chinese bloger masses so riled up is almost suspecting whether a taiwanese think of themselves as chinese or look down up the mainland chinese. also on mainland chinese tv, she probably kiss chinese ass while back in taiwan redicules china.

this story also reminded me the power of the internet, or comments on bulletin boards these days in china. i don’t see parallels from other parts of the world. maybe it is because other news is so censored in china.

September 7, 2006 @ 11:07 pm | Comment

All of us have many bathroom stories, I’m sure. But my personal favorite in terms of absurdity was in Beijing, at the Banpo Neolithic Village Beer Hut – and believe me when I tell you that I automatically love ANY bar called the “Banpo Neolithic Beer Hut.”

Anyway, I go into the bathroom, and there’s a sign over the squatter that reads: “No defecating!”

September 7, 2006 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

Funny stuff, Lisa. Reminds me of a little bar down in Lijiang I was at a few years ago with some of my buddies. One of them was just learning Chinese at the time and hadn’t gotten the characters down yet.

He came back to the table and asked what the sign outside the bathroom meant. He pointed to it. “严禁大便”

I translated it for him. He pondered this a moment.

“We should go somewhere else now.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes. Now. Go. You know, they just never put the really, really important characters in the first few chapters of Hanyu I.”

September 8, 2006 @ 3:07 am | Comment

Ivan, you’re a wierd, wierd man. If you don’t know by now, you’re one of the commentators I like the least, yes, but respect the most. And women almost always prefer to be liked than hated. So why would I be horrified?

September 8, 2006 @ 9:46 am | Comment


that story was for 10 years ago, back then GDP/capita of China was under $2000/year even at PPP measure (nominal $800)

September 8, 2006 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

Thanks, ads.

And yet, 10 years later, the toilets remain. hmmm…

September 8, 2006 @ 4:19 pm | Comment

No. it was a makeshift toilet in the tiananmen square, celebrating return of HK.

Where did you get the idea that the toilets remain? Are we talking about Beijing or rural areas? Rural income is 10th of Beijing’s.

Meng said today perhaps 10-20% did not close their doors in public toilets.

September 9, 2006 @ 9:07 pm | Comment


I’m referring to the remaining low quality of Beijing toilets in general, which are still flushing (usually) as we speak.

September 10, 2006 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

In order to comment on it, I actually watched the clip from the show, what a waste of my time. The stench of condescending attitude can be smelled miles away. One guy on the show went to Chengdu and expected to be treated as celebrity, and it turned out nobody knows who the f**k he is. Another guy thinks people’s life in mainland is better because they now can watch more recent taiwan TV shows. What a bunch of self-centered morons.

September 11, 2006 @ 6:59 pm | Comment

What is your point, chip?

There are clean toilets and low quality toilets, in Beijing, in HK, in Taipei, in US, Japan, in Philippines, in India.

In my experience, the rank is Japan, US, HK, Taipei, Beijing, Smaller cities in China, Philippines, India. The % of low quality toilet roughly rank as GDP level, with the exception of Japan and Singapore, which stand out clearly.


September 12, 2006 @ 9:43 pm | Comment

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