A group of foreigners recently submitted a letter of apology to Chinese authorities for setting up a “mini feast” for themselves inside a local subway train.
In a rather pointless stunt, four unnamed foreigners held a dinner party in the middle of a Shanghai subway carriage last Friday, Shanghaiist reports.
It did not take long for them to stir controversy on social media and invite the attention of local law enforcement after a passenger took a photo of the men as they were having their meal on a table, complete with plates, glasses, and utensils, inside the Line 11 carriage.
The picture immediately went viral and generated massive outrage from Chinese netizens over double standards for local Chinese and white foreigners after it was uploaded on Chinese social media.
Angry netizens were quick to condemn the foreigners for their actions, with many pointing out that such behavior is not acceptable in commuter rails. Some noted that if they were locals who are seen eating on the subway, they would be widely ridiculed online.
In Shanghai Metro’s passenger code, passengers are advised not to eat or talk loudly while on the carriages.
The foreigners were then summoned to appear in a meeting with local officials after their viral photo has caught the attention of the authorities.
According to a post on the Shanghai Metro’s official Weibo account, the group has written a letter of apology that said they have now “realized how their own behavior had disturbed order on public transportation.”
While the foreigners broke the passengers’ code, the group’s stunt will not incur them any punishment since, technically, eating on the train is not actually illegal.
The most they could be penalized for would be a fine of 50 yuan for blocking the path of other commuters. According to the officials, however, the surveillance footage revealed that “the table was small, not as big as it looked in the photo, and there were not many people in the carriage.”