Oddly Enough

Chinese man detained for 3 days for smoking on train

A passenger waits on a platform as a suburban train leaves the platform during a strike by German train drivers union GDL at Frankfurt main station November 15, 2007. REUTERS/Alex Grimm

BEIJING (Reuters) - A man was given three days in detention for breaking a non-smoking rule on a new high-speed rail line, Chinese state media said, an unusually severe punishment in a country where smoking bans are routinely ignored.

He was caught smoking in the toilet just after the train had left Tianjin for Beijing, triggering an alarm and causing the train to stop, the official Xinhua news agency said on its website (

The high-tech line connects the capital with neighbouring Tianjinin. It opened in time for this year’s Beijing Olympics and features carriages more luxurious than usual in China, including swivel chairs and spacious, plush interiors.

No-smoking signs and rules are generally given short shrift in China and about half of all Chinese men smoke.

“It is strictly forbidden to smoke on the Beijing-Tianjin Express, and they hope everyone respects the rules, travels in a civilised manner and ensures the train’s safety and punctuality,” Xinhua said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard, Editing by David Fox