A subway operator in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong has apologized for forcing a member of the Goth subculture to remove her make-up before boarding one of its trains, following an outcry from fellow Goths on social media.
The Guangzhou Metro has apologized to a woman known only by her social media nickname EIGA-ziwoxinzhong, after one of its security officers forced her to remove her make-up.
"I was stopped while I was going through the security check at Xiaogang station this afternoon," EIGA-ziwoxinzhong wrote. " The female security inspector ... called her team leader, saying that there was "a problem" with my make-up, which is too horrific."
"On the basis of which Chinese laws and regulations did you stop me and delay me?" the woman wrote on the Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo.
"If you can say, I will obey, and I will also put up a notice outside the Xiaogang subway station at my own expense, warning that it is forbidden to ride the subway wearing heavy make-up and Goth dresses."
"If they want to stop you, they're gonna stop you; there's no rhyme nor reason to it," commented user @yiduanyoubugdedaima, while user @linqianLam wrote: "It's 2019 -- how long since the end of the Qing Dynasty?" in a reference to the end of imperial rule in 1911.
"I am so angry about this," wrote @_qishu. "They really need to broaden their minds."
Other users posted photos of themselves in Goth attire, in a show of moral support.
Guangzhou Metro apologized to the woman via its official Sina Weibo account on Saturday.
"After investigation, we found that the incident was improperly handled by security personnel," it said in a statement. "We sincerely apologize to the affected service user, and will be ... reviewing our management of subway security checks."
The team leader was suspended pending further training, it said, adding that it will be reviewing security procedures across the network.
"Passengers are welcome to contribute ideas and help us improve our management," it said. "The Metro is for everyone."
Guangzhou-based rights activist Ou Bo said the subway security officers had violated the woman's rights, and had no basis in law.
"It's not against the law to wear make-up, not even against any directives, rules or regulations," Ou told RFA. "There's nothing about make-up in the rules for entering the subway station."
"There is nothing political about this, and yet she doesn't even have the right to wear make-up, which is pretty poor when it comes to human rights," he said.
Reported by Lau Siu-fung for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.