Ariana Eunjung Cha reports on the newest target of public shaming in China:
Long before the Internet was invented, China’s Communist Party was already skilled in the art of public shaming.
Dissidents have been known to disappear and then reappear after having published essays of self-criticism. On state-run television, business people, celebrities and editors have appeared so regularly from behind prison bars speaking about their misdeeds that the segments were like an early take on reality TV.
Now officials are using the tactic on another group that it feels has wronged the country: smokers.
Beijing has not relied just on public humiliation. It has banned smoking in indoor public places and workplaces, complete with large fines and massive propaganda campaigns. It also plans to
take more dramatic measures by posting the names of those breaking the law three times on a Web site in order to shame them.
That may not sound like a big deal, but in Asia the reaction of online citizens to inappropriate behavior can be harsh. Among the most infamous cases is one in 2005 when a woman in South Korea who refused to clean up her dog’s waste was caught in photos that were posted online. Internet users quickly discerned her identity and she was harassed so badly that she reportedly quit her university.