A Chinese city has apologized for naming and shaming people for wearing pajamas in public.
In a crackdown on "uncivilized behavior," the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou on Monday publicly disclosed the information of seven citizens who fell afoul of the supposed dress code.
A now-deleted online post on the city's official social media accounts publicized the surnames, headshots and redacted ID numbers of six women and one man going about their day in colorful PJs. It also included their places of "crime."
The campaign is an example of China's efforts to shape citizens' seemingly innocuous behavior to carry out its vision for "civilized" society and the increasing role of technology in enforcing rules.
Officials in Beijing have considered fining people for baring their torsos in public, and the southern tech hub of Shenzhen has used facial recognition technology to shame jaywalkers.
But the Suzhou government's disclosure of personal information over what citizens wear in public has sparked discussion about misuse of power in the city of about 6 million people in northern Anhui province.
One of the most voted comments on China's Twitter-like Weibo accused the authorities of abusing surveillance technology meant for "real criminals."
"You guys clearly have nothing else to do," read the comment.
Other comments criticized the government for violating citizens' rights.
"Though I'm not a fan of people who wear pajamas in public, those local officials in Suzhou clearly have no concept of the rule of law. If any of those residents are thinking about suing, please message us directly," Luo Changping, an investigative journalist who co-owns a law firm, wrote on Weibo.
The Suzhou authorities have apologized for the "inappropriate" content amid the backlash and removed the article from its official social media accounts the same day it was published.
Publicly wearing pajamas has been a common practice in Shanghai, China's eastern metropolis, for decades.
In the run-up to the 2010 World Expo, which the city was hosting for the first time, Shanghai authorities started a campaign against the practice, featuring the slogan, "Leave your pajamas at home. Be a civilized person for the World Expo."
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