Knowing China through Taiwan

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Blabber, fabricator, shover: Dummy's Guide to line-cutting in China

  • Staff Reporter
  • 2013-08-06
  • 08:40 (GMT+8)
Can you spot line-cutting tactics in action? (Photo/CFP)

Can you spot line-cutting tactics in action? (Photo/CFP)

The mainland Chinese habit of cutting in line has been documented by a South Korean author during his visit to the country, reports the Global Times, an English-language newspaper run under the party-run People's Daily.

An article published in the South Korea-based Munhwa Ilbo said that one normally expects the line in front of you to become shorter over a period of time. This assumption should be thrown out in China, as many are likely to cut in at any part of the line at any time.

There are four main types of cutting in China, according to the article's author. First, several people from the same group stand in different lines and pile into the line of the person who reaches the counter first. The second type is when a person stands beside a window of a booth and keeps asking the booking clerk questions, waiting to slip in when the person next allows them to keep talking. The third is the most blatant: barreling into the line without regard for whatever the people behind them say. Such brazen behavior works by scaring others in the line, making it not worth the hassle of confronting them.

The last is people who "create" a new line and pretend they have waited in that line for a long time. They build their case by attracting people who wander into the line without knowing it was randomly created. People in the previously existing lines usually say something, but resolution is rarely found.

The author of the article reportedly went to Tianjin with his family, where someone cut in front of him as he was waiting to get train tickets. He did not argue with the person as he thought they were a foreigner. Yet he said something happened later that cheered him up: a kind person yielded a seat to him as he was holding his child in the station's waiting room. He experienced both coldness and warmth, the author said.

Who's Who

  • Liu Zhenya (劉振亞)

    Liu Zhenya (劉振亞)

    Liu Zhenya has served as the president of State Grid Corporation of China since 2004.Born: 1952Birthplace: Tancheng, Shandong provinceCountry of ...