Students in Beijing were photographed on May 11 practicing in sync the three government-recommended hand gestures meant to alert nearby strangers to stop smoking.
A total of 1,000 students gathered to “rehearse” the three hand gestures, which were established by Beijing’s municipal government as a city-wide signal meaning “Please stop,” “I do mind,” and “Don’t.” Beijing residents are encouraged to use these anti-smoking signs for relevant occasions and settings.
People in the city were previously asked to cast votes on WeChat for the “clearest” way to signal to residents that they should put out their cigs. Several netizens seized the opportunity to mock the government’s latest half-assed attempt at curbing smoking habits, as Quartz points out.
One wrote on the microblog Weibo, “Why do we need gestures? We’re not dumb.” Another said, “At first I thought these were gestures for telling a pervert to get lost.”
The government decided to go ahead and adopt all three hand gestures as a city-wide “no-smoking” signal after two weeks of voting resulted in a tie among them (aka no one really gave a damn).
The hand signals are the latest effort by Beijing to encourage people to cut back on tobacco, after previous attempts at banning cigarettes in public places have been routinely ignored. Authorities have stressed that the ban on smoking in indoor public spaces will result in a 200-yuan fine for individuals and 100,000 yuan fine for businesses starting June 1.
By Sharon Choi