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Chinese police take a shine to dazzling traffic offenders

Traffic police in China are finding the overzealous use of full-beam headlights to be a problem.

Story highlights

  • Blindingly simple idea sees Chinese police using headlights to punish traffic offenders
  • Use of high-beam lights punished in Shenzhen with eye-for-an-eye punishment
  • China's netizens split on the subject with some complaining of police overreaching their authority

How's this for a bright idea? Police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen are responding to headlight infractions with an eye-for-an-eye punishment.

If you're caught using your brights in the city, which shares a border with Hong Kong, police will sit you down in the full glare, not of an interrogation room lamp, but of their own full-beams.

A post on the Shenzhen traffic police's Weibo account spells it out.

"Do you dare to use full-beam headlights anymore?" the post asks. "From now on, 'uncle cop' will have you stare at the lights for five minutes if they catch you abusing them."

The stern warning is offset by an animated laughing emoticon. There is also the addition of a more traditional fine of 300 yuan ($49).

Mixed response

Responses on Chinese social media ranged from the amused and the approving, to those doubting the safety -- and legality -- of the biblical-style punishment.

User @chas125 said: "I wholeheartedly support this. Shanghai traffic police should adopt the measure, too," while another user, whose weibo handle suggests a connecttion with the city, was even more enthusiastic.

"I'm hitting 'likes' with my hands and feet," @shenzhenlaocui posted. "Full-beam headlights are evil. I suggest they extend the stare time to 30 minutes, splitting it into three time periods, and let people take a 60-second break in between."

@Zhengxunlaoshi, however, was a little more phlegmatic. "People hate others who use full-beam headlights too much. I experience that unpleasantness as you do, and it is not safe," the user said.

"But the police 'educate' the violators beyond laws -- remember laws don't authorize them to do so -- illegally enforcing the law is more dangerous than using full-beam headlights."

Indiscriminately using brights can be hazardous and can dazzle oncoming traffic. Given the rapid increase of cars and motor scooters on China's roads as the country's economy expands almost unabated, road awareness is an increasing concern.