Hongkongers received a scolding from China’s People’s Daily this week after the Communist Party mouthpiece accused local commuters of being lothe to offer their seats to those in need.

The article, published in the People’s Daily overseas edition on Tuesday, accuses Hong Kong people of “generally lacking civic-mindedness” and “staring down at their phones, oblivious to the suffering [of those] around them.”

People's Daily article criticising Hongkongers' MTR etiquette
People’s Daily article criticising Hongkongers’ MTR etiquette. Photo: People’s Daily.

If Hongkongers aren’t pretending to play on their phones and ignore the plight of fellow commuters, People’s Daily suggested that they also pretend to fall asleep.

The author cites a study from the YWCA’s Elderly Services division which found that commuters do not give up their seats for elderly passengers 40 percent of the time, according to survey respondents.

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick is an award-winning journalist and scholar from Hong Kong who has reported on the city’s politics, protests, and policing for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Guardian, The Independent, and others