Shanghaiist just saw a bit of news (in Chinese) about some new laws designed to give stiffer penalties for “small disturbances”. These laws cover four broad categories of disturbances. The first has to do with your lovely, cuddly pets. Before this law, which will be in effect March 1, disturbances or disputes caused by pets between neighbors would probably end up with a shouting match, cold stares, and a complaint to the neighborhood committee. Under the new law, the first time something happens, you get a warning. If people keep complaining or you attempt to get your animal to intimidate or scare others, you get fined 200-500 yuan. If you are found guilty of making your pet attack another person, you get fined 500-1000 yuan and may have to spend two weeks in the slammer.
The next category has to do with text messages. If you get caught repeatedly sending spam, including spam with sexual content and that which infringes on the privacy rights of other people, you can get fined up to 500 yuan. Under more serious conditions, you can get fined above 500 yuan and also spend five days in the slammer (and perhaps share a bunk with the guy that unleashed his attack cat on the neighbor’s kid).
Yet another category has to do with noise pollution. This one’s fairly self-explanatory — as the article says, you can’t sing karaoke too loudly, because if you do, and the neighbors complain, you’re going to have explain yourself to the po-lice. Again, the fine is 200-500 yuan. Finally, beggars beware — if you use others to beg for you (e.g., kids) or are in general a nuisance to other people, you can be fined up to 1000 yuan and see some jail time (and eat your prison gruel next to the karaoke star and the attack cat owner). In line with this, local authorities are patrolling the Bund fifteen hours a day because of beggars and shoe polishers, who, according to that report, grab foreigners, shine their shoes, and then demand 10-50 US dollars. In terms of what economists call “Purchasing Power Parity” or “PPP”, that’s the equivalent of a shitload of money.
Photo from Grouchyoldcripple.com