CHINA> Regional
City gets tough on foreign jaywalkers
By Zhan Lisheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-08-20 07:21

The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is taking stern action against foreigners who break traffic rules, the public security bureau said Tuesday.

It follows tough measures against local residents introduced in June.

Three crossings on Xiaobei Road, where most foreigners live or work, will be closely watched.

"Like local residents, any foreigner who crosses against a red light or jumps over a road divider will be fined between 20 yuan ($2.90) and 50 yuan.

Those not able to afford the fine or are reluctant to pay the fine will be forced to watch a video on traffic safety," Lu Zhengguang, a bureau official, said yesterday.

"We will record their behavior on video and have interpreters at the scene, so that there will be no misunderstandings," he said.

"We will then report the incident to their employers, as we do in the case of local residents."

The new rule against foreigners was introduced on Sunday, and by Tuesday, six offenders had been dealt with, Lu said.

Most opted to watch the video on traffic safety, rather than pay a fine, he said.

Pu Malong, a taxi driver, said police action against foreigners who break traffic rules was "necessary and fair".

"Don't take it for granted they (the foreigners) are all law-abiding. Many of them pay no regard to traffic signals.

"They glare or curse at us when we have to slam on our brakes to avoid hitting them," Pu said.

Many foreigners jaywalk along Xiaobei Road, forcing him to drive extremely slowly, he said.

American teacher Gordon Cook said: "Foreigners should obey local laws and regulations.

"However, the local government should do more to publicize new laws and regulations to the foreign community."

Since June, hundreds of local residents have been fined or required to watch the traffic safety video, the public security bureau said.