I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but it's true -- people in China have poor hygiene.
A Ministry of Health study has found one in 25 mainland women wash her hands properly and for Chinese men it's only one in 35!!!
The report says many people do not wash their hands at all after going to the toilet and others do not use soap or clean water. But I can attest to the fact that there are some washrooms that don't offer soap or even running water.
The statistics were revealed by health ministry spokesman Mao Qunan while addressing an event marking the fourth Global hands Day on September 15. Only China would celebrate such days as these... but in a good way.
He admitted the report showed the government needed to urgently step up efforts to promote better personal hygiene.
Residents in Beijing and the provinces of Zhejiang, Yunnan, Shaanxi and Liaoning participated in the study based on hand-washing standards set by the World Health Organization.
It says people should wash hands before eating, after going to the toilet, after completing a manual task, upon finishing work for the day and after visiting a hospital or coming into contact someone who is sick.
The proper way to wash one's hands is to use running water and soap or other cleaning products for at least 20 seconds.
While people in cities fared better in cleaning their hands, gender was not a factor.
Perhaps it would help if soap was provided in washrooms -- many, particularly public ones do not offer soap and paper towels, but it's true -- people think they're hands are still clean.
When I worked in an office in Beijing, I was cleaning my hands when I saw my colleague come out of the stall and about to open the door to leave the washroom. I asked her if she wasn't going to wash her hands and she said she thought her hands were clean.
This coming from a university-educated woman.
It just goes to show China does not educate its people on the right things to know. While facts about China's GDP figures are nice to have in the back of their minds, perhaps more knowledge about personal hygiene would be more useful...