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A woman gets in her car on a street in Shanghai on October 30, 2013. Suggestions given by the Beijing police department to women drivers in a series of microblog postings have sparked a backlash among Chinese Internet users who say the tips are sexually discriminatory.
BEIJING – For female drivers across China, police in Beijing may now be the worst backseat driver they’ve ever encountered.
The Beijing Police Department posted a strange series of messages on China’s Twitter-like service, Weibo, Tuesday entitled “Women Drivers Please Take Care to Avoid These Mistakes.”
The post is a list of sexually discriminatory so-called “habits” of female drivers to be avoided. Not surprisingly, the suggestions have outraged many.
“Some women drivers lack a sense of direction and while driving a car they often hesitate and can’t decide which road to take,” said one post from the police. “Once they realize their mistake, they cause accidents by spinning the steering wheel in a panic.”
Women drivers when driving alone, the post later noted, “are not able to find the way to their destination, even if they’ve been there many times.”
The posts appeared on the Beijing police’s verified Weibo account which has nearly 6 million followers.
In total, six shortcomings of female drivers were listed on the police microblog: a lack of a sense of direction, wearing high heels while driving, an inability to control a car’s gas and brake pedals, driving with the hand brake on, forgetting to switch gears while driving and getting flustered after an accident.
“Women drivers tend to panic following an accident,” the police reported noted. “They usually draw a complete mental blank, providing opportunities for criminals.”
The postings seem to have been prompted by a spat of recent traffic accidents in China which supposedly highlight many of the bad habits.
In one case, a woman named Liu allegedly got into a car accident after her high heel got stuck between the pedals. In the accompanying cartoon for that Weibo post, a woman is depicted driving a car shaped like a high heel.
Understandably, the posts have sparked anger online, with users responding bitingly to the police postings.
“This is discrimination! Many male drivers are idiots, too,” wrote one angry reader.
“Please revise your blog, treat female drivers fairly,” said another.
“Why did an official police blog post such a discriminatory notice?” demanded another poster. “Why did this notice emphasize gender so much? Are the police going to list tips for male drivers next time?”
NBC News’ Le Li contributed to this report.
First published October 30 2013, 10:23 AM