By Jenn Abelson, Globe Staff
As China has tried to clean up its act ahead of the Olympics, much work has been done on its reputation, its streets, its menus (taking dog meat off temporarily, for example), even on the weather itself.
Officials, however, seem incapable of curing one of the most basic offenses.
At a nice restaurant in Beijing, a toddler urinated underneath the table next to me. The family just watched and helped the toddler relieve himself. In the famous tourist attractions or on the streets, people were doing their business.
Disposable diapers still don't seem to be widespread, and you quickly become familiar with the infamous slit pants -- on my flight from Beijing to the United States, a 7 year old decided to use the floor instead of the toilet and his mom just walked away. I had to track down the airline stewardess, who encouraged the mom to come back and clean up after him.
All this, despite the country's strenuous efforts to increase the number of public toilets, even to rate them -- there's four- or five-star-rated toilets at some of the tourist attractions.