WeChat, the social network central to Chinese life with its mobile payments system being widely used in cities, is now being utilised to clean up the air quality in the capital city, Beijing. According to the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, its official account on WeChat has received 2,717 reports between August to October.
The average 900 reports per month is up 50 percent compared to the second quarter of the year. According to CGTN, the reports were made when WeChat users spotted people smoking in public places such as restaurants, office buildings, and internet cafes. Currently, smoking controls are partially working; they’ve had a greater success of being enforced in medical institutions, schools and hotels. However, as you can see from the reports, there are still issues in others public places.
By following the Tobacco Control Association’s official WeChat account, anyone can easily file a report accompanied by photos of the offender. The association plans to put the names and locations of the involved companies online and then send volunteers to those places to investigate and deal with violators. Anyone caught rule breaking more than five times will face action by smoking control departments.
Beijing currently has the strictest controls on smoking in the country; smoking is banned in indoor public places, workplaces, and on public transportation. A total of 1,245 workplaces and 5,243 individuals have been prosecuted for violating the ban in the last 29 months.