China has announced a new set of penalties for those who are caught smoking on high-speed trains. New regulations will allow authorities to ban the violator for a period of six months. Further, the full list of those banned from the trains will be published on online ticket booking sites, the government has said.
The new penalties were published in a document jointly issued by China's National Development and Reform Commission, the Supreme People's Court and other government departments.
The new rules will come into effect from May, and will apply to high-speed trains and to non-smoking areas of other trains. Once banned, the person would not be allowed to purchase tickets. If a banned person is caught travelling on with tickets bought using fake IDs or in someone else's name, they would be blocked from buying tickets till they pay a fine.
The 180-day ban has also been put in place for 'troublemakers, producers and sellers of counterfeit tickets and those endangering railway transport safety', Chinese newspaper reports said. If a person is caught thrice within a year for any of these offences, their ban will be extended by a further 90 days.
The government also announced that it would publish a roster of banned individuals on ticket booking websites like 12306.cn and on credit rating checking websites like creditchina.gov.cn at the beginning of every month. Those who find their names on the list would be able to appeal against their inclusion.
Getting banned from trains can be a serious problem in China. The country has spent vast sums of money building high-speed train routes, which have become critical to daily commutes.
Trains are also the most cost-effective and widely available mode of transport for people to reach their hometowns. They usually run well over capacity during Chinese holidays.