BEIJING – An entrepreneur in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has unveiled a contraption designed to help those who miss the mark at a urinal: the 'Pee Straight.'
The invention came in the wake of a new law known as the Shenzhen City Public Toilet Management Act, which allows sanitation managers and other officials to slap a $15 fine on those caught making a mess of municipal toilets while relieving themselves. The law also cracks down on anybody defacing, littering or smoking in public privies.
The Pee Straight is a simple contraption. A standard funnel affixed to what appears to be a 10-inch piece of tube pipe, the device comes in his and hers versions -- hers has a shorter pipe -- and is being marketed to those who have trouble with their aim.
At $1.65 per unit, it's not likely to make the device's inventor, Ma Xianqing, rich -- he was quoted saying as much in local Shenzhen press. But he espoused the civic value of the Pee Straight and also listed its many benefits, including being able to protect a user’s privacy from peeping Toms who may lurk in restrooms.
On Chinese social media, the new law and the Pee Straight were a source of amusement, with many cheekily hailing the device as the next great invention to come out of China.
“No wonder Guangdong’s economy ranks first in China!” one user wrote sardonically on China's version of Twitter, Weibo.
Others, though, had warnings for Ma.
“Apply for the patent!! Hurry up before it’s too late!” one wrote.
A representative of Shenzhen’s City Management Office declined to confirm whether any fines had been levied against anyone.
The brouhaha over the new law is the latest PR stumble for the city of Shenzhen. Just last month the city of 10 million was declared by Conde Nast Traveler magazine to be one of the world’s most unfriendly cities.
NBC News’ Pei Huang contributed to this report.