The 11th of every month in Beijing is to be "voluntarily wait in line" day as the city attempts to eradicate queue-jumping before next year's Olympics, a city official said on Wednesday.
Orderly queues are a rare sight in a city which is also hard at work trying to put an end to spitting and littering and present a more "civilised" face to the world in 2008.
Passengers wait in line to get on the bus in Beijing.The 11th of every month in Beijing is to be "voluntarily wait in line" day as the city attempts to eradicate queue-jumping before next year's Olympics, a city official said Feb.7,2007.[cnsphoto]
"The reason for establishing such a day is to mobilise the Beijing population to ensure that where there are more than two people, they should wait in line," said Zhang Huiguang, director of the Capital Ethic Development Office.
"We are hoping to enlist all the citizens of Beijing to be missionaries of civilisation," she added.
The campaign will be launched in the fashionable Wangfujing shopping district on Sunday under the slogan, "It's civilised to queue, it's glorious to be polite".
A range of measures include enlisting the support of the media, education campaigns, the use of model citizens, legislation, "punishment and reward schemes" as well as a slogan for each city district.
The western district of Xicheng has "Voluntarily wait in line, be polite and put other people first", central Dongcheng has "I care about and participate in the Olympics and set an example by queuing" while northwestern Haidian has simply "I am a member of the queue".
The existing campaigns against littering and spitting in the capital had already reaped dividends, Zhang said, with 50 yuan ($6.45) fines only part of the city's armoury.
"The most important thing is not the amount of the fine but in China, where saving face is so important, just the shame of being fined," she said.
"Random garbage disposal and spitting are not good for people's health and so we must point out the hazards to them," Zhang added. "We must also tell them that this sort of behaviour is something we should be ashamed off."
China's "Mr Olympics", He Zhenliang, said last year that "the rude bus passenger" or "witness to an accident that fails to lend a hand" were the biggest obstacles to hosting an impressive Games.
Zhang said that a "Civic Index" drawn up by Renmin University had indicated an improvement of behaviour among the city's 15 million citizens from 65.21 percent in 2005 to 69.06 last year.
"I'm confident that by next year ... with the help of the Beijing people, the situation will be much improved and the number of people littering and spitting will be much reduced," she said.