The Hug Threat

News from Beijing: Police stop people from offering free hugs.

Man, I was just in Beijing Tuesday and Wednesday, so missed out on the free physical affection and its fallout. What I didn’t miss is the sociopolitical and cultural implications, thanks to Greg’s brilliant editorial on the incident: China Says “No” to Half-assed Attempt at Affection.

More on Beijing next post.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Does this mean that Beijing wants to go further into the cyber age… there will only be cyber dating and cyber affection???

  2. 为什么要阻止?再次证明中国很‘传统’的概念,作为一个中国人,太让我失望。

  3. Does anyone remember when a cyber hug consisted of typing a person’s name like this: <<<<>>>>>

    My free hug to you, John.

  4. Your name disappeared from within the “hug”.

  5. Beijing cops are idiots. They’re arresting people for hugging when they should be giving tickets to bad drivers or fining polluting factories.

  6. Cool, made it up north! I’m anxiously awaiting your next post.

  7. Sigh… Beijing…is always too sensitive…:(

    Alaric, it was like this in my area, {{{{{}}}}}

    hugs to John as well~

  8. The police should have watched the original free hug guy. It might have warmed their hearts.

  9. faisal, thank you so much for that link! that’s awesome!

    we definitely live in a different society. one glaring example is the sign that hangs in the lobby of the massage therapy clinic where i work. it says, “tipping is optional; hugs are required.” we still always ask, and do respect the rights of the few who decline, but most people are delighted. i read somewhere that humans need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance, and 12 for growth. dunno if it’s true, but it sounds good, and i do believe that positive physical human contact really is essential.

  10. 4 hugs a day? Who does that? Much less 12. That many hugs a day and you probably get chaffing or some kind of skin disease.

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