|People stealing toilet paper in China|
“The fact that people are taking free toilet paper from public restrooms in China, tells the world that the state of morality of the Chinese is pretty low,” an analyst on human behavior said.
That is the topic Chinese people have been debating since news emerged late last month that a pilot program of free toilet paper in a coastal city in China has resulted in visitors making off with up to two kilometers of toilet paper for free per day.
In a story widely discussed on Chinese social media sites, health authorities in the picturesque city of Qingdao, said they have spent about 1.5 million yuan or $236,000 from June 15, to set up and store free toilet paper dispensers in public bathrooms at 24 sites, which are part of an effort to make things more convenient for tourists during the summer months.
How is it that the city has spent nearly $10,000 at each site for toilet paper in less than a month? It is excessive, according to those responsible for maintaining the supply.
"Most people take toilet paper before entering the toilet and then grab some more on the way out," said Zhu Xincong, who oversees one of the public toilets in Qingdao, Shandong, in an interview with officials.
According to reports, empty toilet paper dispensers are becoming increasingly common, prompting officials to set up reminders at the sites: "Convenience for you and for me, the comfort is a courtesy for all to see. My paper use, your paper use, conservation depends on us."
While the theft of public supplies of toilet paper is by no means unique to China, the situation in Qingdao seems to have struck a chord in a country where public morality has become a topic of widespread concern.