Chinese Women Fake Pregnancy to Get Train Seats

February 22, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. pack (n.) –  a bundle of things that are wrapped or tied together for carrying
Example: A hiker carries a pack of emergency supplies when climbing up mountains.

2. come out into the open (idiom) – to appear in public after being hidden
Example: The people responsible for the crime came out into the open after years of hiding from the police.

3. scam (n.) – a dishonest way to earn profit
Example:  She learned that the online shop was a scam when the item she paid for was never sent to her.

4. surface (v.) – to appear openly
Example:  Secret information can easily surface on the Internet. 

5. trimester (n.) – a time period of three months, usually used when referring to a pregnancy
Example: The most important stage of a baby’s development is in the first trimester.

Read the text below.

In China, where over a billion people live, finding seats on buses or trains can be difficult. However, some of China's women have found a way around such a problem–by pretending to be pregnant.

In order to get priority seats on public transportation, these women attach silicon packs to their bellies. The silicon packs are ones normally used by actresses to appear pregnant.

This scheme came out into the open when one woman in Hebei Province got caught wearing the rubber "baby bump". The story then began to spread all over the news and social networking sites. As passengers became more aware about the scam, similar cases began surfacing one after another.

The silicon packs are available for purchase online, with prices ranging from $150-250. One of the makers of this product says that the bestsellers are the second trimester types, which make those who wear it look 5 to 7 months pregnant.

But despite the high prices, sales for the fake pregnant bellies continually increase. It seems some people will try anything to avoid standing on a bus or train during rush hour every day.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

      How do you usually get a seat at a public transportation such as trains and buses? 
      What advice would you give people so they can get seats on trains or buses without having to cheat?

Discussion B

      What do you think can be the solution to overcrowded public transportation?
      Do you think men should offer seats to women even if they are not pregnant? Why or why not?


February 22, 2012