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People's Daily: People should support those who discourage bad behavior

By Yu Zhong (People's Daily)    16:01, January 25, 2018

The Zhengzhou City Intermediate People's Court of Henan Province reversed its previous decision on a case involving smoking and rejected the plaintiff's appeal Tuesday.

Last May, the defendant Yang Fan asked a 69-year-old man not to smoke in the elevator. They exchanged words and the 69-year-old died shortly thereafter outside the elevator from a heart attack. Yang was sued in court, and was ordered to pay 15,000 yuan (about $2,500) in compensation. But at a second hearing, the court said Yang shall assume no legal responsibility, which sent a powerful signal to the public that those who discourage undue behavior should not be penalized.

The case resonated with the masses. It's common to get a cold shoulder for those who deter others from smoking. This extreme case presents a legal question closely connected to the lives of every person: are citizens entitled to dissuade smokers?

Judicial branches should be firm: discouraging smoking in public places benefits not only the environment and the public, but helps spread core socialist values.

Local regulations or rules state that smoking is banned indoors in public places.

Everyone knows that it's illegal to smoke in public buildings. Repeated waivers are not a permanent solution to public incivilities. Laws and regulations would end up meaningless. Remaining silent about such behavior simply because of its universality is not right. Over time, those smoking in public buildings may live in peace with themselves while a few will step up to the plate and say no to them.

Smoking control requires some time and society's cooperation is self-evident, yet stopping misconduct should be encouraged.

Some may argue that no extreme measures should be taken to stop such a misdemeanor as smoking. In this case, Yang didn't cross the line and took on his responsibility, according to the court.

In essence, exhorting smokers is a fundamental right and duty of a citizen, though there is no such provision in China to comply with. But there should be more like Yang to stand out and say no. Only then would this lead to a more harmonious and orderly atmosphere.

(Compiled by Liu Wenbo)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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