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China firm on tightening traffic rules

Xinhua

BEIJING - Despite public complaints, China will continue to enforce traffic regulations to ensure road safety, according to an official with the Ministry of Public Security.

A nationwide campaign to discourage pedestrians from running red lights has commenced, and the strict enforcement of the regulations has proven somewhat effective, the People's Daily quoted Wang Changjun, head of the ministry's research institute on traffic management, as saying on Wednesday.

The campaign also targets "Chinese-style street crossing," in which pedestrians cross the road once a large enough group forms, regardless of what color the traffic light is. Violators often say that they had been waiting for a green light for too long or the duration of the green light had not been enough to allow them to cross the road.

Under the tightened rules, pedestrians will be fined if police catch them crossing the street during a red light or jay-walking, with the amount varying in different cities.

The fine is 10 yuan ($1.6) in Beijing, and 5 to 10 yuan in East China's Zhejiang province.

Wang said some violators have ignored the strict rules and others have refused fines. Though enforcing the regulations consumes a lot of time and energy, the government intends to stick with it.

"As long as we continue to strictly enforce the regulations and promote education, there will be less and less 'Chinese-style street crossing,'" Wang said.

The enforcement will continue, and pedestrians are expected to change their bad habits, he said.

He added that authorities are repairing broken traffic lights and improving equipment to allow a reasonable amount of time for both pedestrians and vehicles to cross the road.

In some cities, local governments have established "safety islands" in the middle of wide roads, allowing senior citizens to take their time crossing the road, he said.

Still, Wang said there is no excuse for violating traffic laws.