Oddly Enough

Police to shame jaywalkers on TV

Policemen keep watch outside Shanghai Zhabei's district police station in Shanghai July 1, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shanghai police will post photos and videos of jaywalkers in newspapers and on TV in a bid to shame them out of breaking traffic rules, local media reported on Thursday.

Offending pedestrians, moped riders and cyclists would be snapped at selected intersections and their images put in regular columns and on special television programs set up by police, the Shanghai Daily said.

The scheme had come under fire from lawyers who said public humiliation was too steep a punishment for jaywalking and warned of defamation lawsuits against police.

“It’s a principle of law that a penalty should match the seriousness of the crime,” Liu Chunquan, a local lawyer, told the paper.

Jaywalking is a way of life in major Chinese cities, where crossing roads legally can be a hair-raising battle of nerves with oncoming cars disinclined to give way to pedestrians.

Traffic police recorded 7.78 million jaywalking violations at Shanghai intersections in the first eight months of 2008, the paper said.

Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Macfie