City authorities have decided that no more than two flies will be allowed to reside in any one public toilet.
"I'm sure the office has good intentions with these standards to promote public hygiene, but I've no idea how people can ensure the number of flies in a toilet," said Wang Qingwen, publicity officer of Beijing Municipal Commission of City Administration and Environment (MCCAE).
New "standards for public toilets management and service" were issued on Monday, and one of the hygiene control indicators stipulates that there should be no more than two flies in the toilets in places such as hospitals, supermarkets, parks and bus terminals, according to MCCAE's website.
Yesterday, there was only one fly seen at a public toilet inside a Chaoyang district supermarket. Xu Xiutang, the cleaning lady, chuckled as she was informed of the rules, and said no one had informed her. She had not been allotted any more fly swatters or sprays.
"That'll take a lot of work to narrow it down to two flies for many public toilets in the park or at some tourist sites. They are actually putting a number on this? Are they going to come down to the toilets and count?" said Xu.
Online critics yesterday questioned the effectiveness of the new standards, saying it was "another project to show the government's doing something."
"The government could encourage cleaners to clean up and the residents to cooperate to keep the environment neat and clean so that no flies would fly in, instead of spending money and energy to count flies, dead or alive," said Zhou Rui, a local resident who came out of the toilet in Chaoyang No.2 Hospital. He said he had not spotted any flies inside.