Debate over Chinese city's women-only bus

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightChina News Service
image captionThe bus carries a red "women only" sign and is decorated inside with cuddly toys

The introduction of a women-only bus in one Chinese city has riled some local men and sparked an online debate.

The new summer service will run during morning and evening rush hours in the eastern city of Zhengzhou, in an effort to cut the number of groping incidents, Dahe Daily reports. The local bus company says it'll protect women from being harassed when wearing lighter clothing, and also help breastfeeding mothers feel more comfortable.

Female-only train and metro carriages have been introduced in many countries with varying degrees of success, but single-sex transport is a relatively new concept in China.

Women interviewed on board the bus said they were pleased with the service, with one telling a reporter: "Of course this is a good idea, it is very respectful to women."

But some local men are less impressed. One tells Dahe Daily that harassment isn't common on public transport: "The bus company has made a fuss over it - this measure will cause men to feel humiliated." Another man complains to China National Radio: "I had to wait a really long time for another bus to arrive because I wasn't allowed on."

A video that has gone viral shows an elderly man remonstrating with the driver after being denied boarding. "You're discriminating against me! This is a public bus!" he shouts. Others appear unfazed, and wander off in search of another service.

It's become a hot topic of debate on microblogging site Weibo, with lots of women welcoming the idea, although one notes: "Not all men are bad, but aren't all men being discriminated against here?" There's support from male users too, although some think it promotes a general distrust of men. Many also feel an exception should have been made for the elderly man in the video.

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