Chinese drivers can avoid minor traffic tickets by confessing on WeChat

PHOTO: Unsplash/Drew Willson

In the public-shaming spirit of Chinese struggle sessions, Shandong traffic violators can now avoid tickets by confessing their offences on WeChat. Hold up, though – this is just for minor infringements.

Don’t expect to run someone over and post a social media confession as penance… you’ll probably go viral, but not for the reasons you might want.

Earlier this month, a traffic culprit was nabbed driving outside the road guidelines, facing a fine of 200-300 yuan. The driver posted a WeChat “obligation to abide by traffic rules” asking for his friends’ support, and hoped he would be let off quickly after the social media apology.

However, it’s not enough just to post about the error of your ways — a confessional bad driving post has to get at least 20 “likes” on WeChat, or else the fine will stick. This way, errant drivers do the job of self-promoting safe driving or face embarrassment. Similar “flexible enforcement” rules were tested in Sichuan in 2018 as well as other parts of the country; back then, Sichuan scooter-riding traffic violators were pushed to make confessions on Weibo. WeChat is also used as a method of traffic ticket payment.

Depending on which city in China you’re in, possible violations include using bus lanes when you’re not supposed to, parking in prohibited areas, and even being a bad pedestrian (when, oh when, will they introduce this scheme in Singapore?). We can already think of a few Singapore violations: road hogging, tailgating, and not using your indicator signal.