In Shenzhen, jaywalking is a common sight—almost unavoidable in a city where road safety regulations are haphazard and where there are few safe options for pedestrians.

That changed on Tuesday when police officers patrolling a busy intersection near the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border started giving jaywalkers green hats and a hi-visibility vest to put on.

Journalists gather around a road safety officer giving a jaywalker a green hat. Photo: Sina.

The Southern Metropolis Daily reported that in the first half of this year, 12.7 million people jaywalked Shenzhen’s busy streets, with the vast majority of them aged between 18-30 years old.

Police Photo: Sina.

However, the expression “wearing a green hat” is a Chinese slang term used to describe a man being cheated on by a female significant other.

Two jaywalkers wearing matching hi-vis vests that read ‘stop at a red light, walk at a green one, don’t rush, safety first’. Photo: Sina.

The new road safety measures had a mixed response. Some have welcomed the measures, while others have questioned the choice of colour—with some suggesting the hats should be red as wearing green hats would confuse drivers.

Photo: Sina.

Traffic police on the scene told the Southern Metropolis Daily that the green hats happen to be part of the uniform and that there is no special meaning behind it.

Vicky Wong

Vicky is a British-born Chinese journalist with three years of experience covering UK politics. She previously worked for PoliticsHome and has interned at Sky News and CNN International. She also co-produced and filmed a documentary about the Hong Kong protests for MSNBC, which won the grand student prize at the 2015 Human Rights Press Awards. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading and moved to Hong Kong in 2014 to complete a journalism masters at the University of Hong Kong.