Monday, October 26, 2009

Loony Laws in China

In Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.

In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is "simple assault," while biting someone with your false teeth is "aggravated assault."

In North Dakota, a man can't smoke a cigarette in front of a woman.

In Vermont, it is illegal to paint a horse.

But we're not alone -- from the New York Times, ridiculous rules in China:

All the students at Luolang Elementary School, a yellow-and-orange concrete structure off a winding mountain road in southern China, know the key rules: Do not run in the halls. Take your seat before the bell rings. Raise your hand to ask a question.

And oh, yes: Salute every passing car on your way to and from school.

Education officials promoted the saluting edict to reduce traffic accidents and teach children courtesy. Critics, who have posted thousands of negative comments about the policy on China’s electronic bulletin boards, beg to differ. “This is just pitiful,” wrote one in a post last year. Only inept officials would burden children with such a requirement rather than install speed bumps, others insisted.

This is hardly the only nation where local bureaucrats sometimes run a bit too free. But in China, where many local officials are less than well trained and only the party can eject them from office, local governments’ dubious edicts are common enough that skewering them has become a favorite pastime of China’s Web users. Even the state-run media join in, although they rarely report who was behind the rules or suggest that they indicate a lack of competence to govern.
Some of the Chinese rules seem a little less benign than the salute-all-cars rule, though. Barring male officials from hiring any female secretaries, for example. Or my personal favorite, "officials of a village in Chongqing Province forced unmarried women to pass a chastity test before receiving compensation for farmland appropriated by the government. They argued that only virgins deserved compensation." Sheesh.

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