Updated by Gabriel Kirellos, December 5th, 2021: China has many weird laws in place that put tremendous pressure on the citizens of this country to abide by them or face catastrophic punishments and consequences. This article was updated to include some additional weird laws in China, such as the ban of jasmine flowers and the limitations on playing video games.
The Hukou System: Where You Live Is Determined By Where You Were Born
China uses the hukou system, a government record of every citizen in the country. The law was inspired by ancient Chinese traditions and essentially worked to create a caste system in the country. Every household must register information including urban or rural status, legal address, religion, physical description, and sector of activity.
The system restricts mobility between classes and physical locations. Any person who spends more than three days in an area not listed as their residence must apply for a temporary residence permit. It has been criticized as a form of apartheid by human rights groups as the restrictions have prevented particular classes of people from obtaining education or changing careers.
The goal of the law is to control internal migration and stop rural residents from migrating to the cities and causing a food shortage. But the system is controversial, with many reforms emerging in recent years to stop it and allow Chinese citizens more control over their own lives.
Elderly Rights Law: Adult Children Must Visit Their Parents
Like many Asian cultures, Chinese culture places a significant emphasis on respect for the elderly. In 2013, it was reported that China introduced a new Elderly Rights Law, which dictates that adults should care about their elderly parents' needs and they should never neglect them. Among other things, adult children are required to visit their aging parents.
The law was implemented to combat the loneliness often experienced among the elderly. Family is an essential highlight of Chinese culture, and the law aims to ensure that citizens still honor their families. Adults must visit their parents often, but the law doesn't specify how frequently they should go. Employers are also expected to be lenient in giving employees time off to visit their families.
Most importantly, adults are required to help look after their parents' spiritual health by any means necessary, including things like teaching them how to use the internet to stay connected.
The Policing Of Internet Viewing: No Salacious Online Content Allowed
Speaking of the internet, another law that Chinese citizens are expected to follow involves accepting that there's no free internet in the country. All forms of media are carefully controlled, and only a filtered version of the internet is available. This ensures that citizens don't view salacious content online.
The version of the internet that's available in China does not provide access to any kind of sexual content whatsoever. In fact, possessing any type of adult material is punishable by three years in prison.
Any emails sent by citizens are subject to censorship, and websites tend to load very slowly. Some citizens have found a way to get around this by using a virtual private network service (even though this is illegal). This allows them to access sites and search engines like YouTube, Twitter, and Google, which aren't otherwise available. It is estimated that around 90 million users rely on virtual private network services.
Healthcare Tickets: To See A Doctor, You Need To Register First
China is the most populated country globally, so things like the healthcare system have to run a little differently to remain efficient for many people. For example, China has a plan in place that's known as healthcare tickets. To see a doctor, citizens must first buy a registration ticket.
Citizens can buy a ticket online or through a mobile app. If they don't purchase a ticket in advance, they have to line up at the clinic or the hospital, which can take a while. Once they've bought a registration ticket, they can choose what doctor they'd like to see or ask for recommendations. Once they've purchased a ticket, they check in at reception and are issued with a patient ID card. This will give them access to the doctor they wish to see.
The actual doctor's appointment is similar to in western countries. But the process of actually getting to the doctor is slightly more complicated.
Soldiers Showing Cowardice Or Surrender Are Eligible For The Death Penalty
Capital punishment is still practiced in China. Although the death penalty is mainly handed out of severe crimes such as murder, there are currently 46 capital offenses that are punishable by death. Among them are economic crimes, such as smuggling counterfeit money and breach of duty by soldiers.
Chinese soldiers are eligible for the death penalty for crimes such as selling military secrets, reusing to pass orders, surrender, or cowardice.
People Can't Play The Video Games They Want
Since April 2019, people in China don't have the right to play any video game they wish, with any involving sex, violence, or gambling being banned by law. Some of these games include Resident Evil and the uber-gory Mortal Kombat. Moreover, any video game portraying the government negatively is also banned in China. Since the country is home to more than 20 percent of the world's population, most video-game developers adhere to the laws in place and abide by the strictest regulations. Still, some online vendors are managing to bypass the ban by putting hand-drawn cover art and designs to disguise the real components of the banned video games.
People In China Cannot Buy Jasmine Flowers
Not only did the Chinese government ban the word Jasmine on the internet, but it went as far as outlawing the sale of jasmine flowers in markets and shops in Beijing and several other large cities in the country. This decision came up the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia sparked a similar pro-democracy movement in the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party, which rules China took those steps to prevent the protests against their rule. No other reason was identified that led to the ban of jasmine flowers.