One elderly man refuses to take people's seats on public transport. Photo: iStock/TanawatPontchour

A 76-year-old man from Dalian, a port city on the Liaodong Peninsula, was praised for wearing a “don’t give up your seat” badge and quietly asking people not to offer him a seat on public transport.

He said those sitting passengers could be truly in need of rest.

Liu Zengsheng, who told a reporter that he put on the flashy badge every day when he was taking public transport because being an elderly person he was often offered a seat, which he insisted he did not need, the paper reported.

Liu said others may be tired or sick. However, young people felt compelled to give up their seat as it was a virtue in Chinese culture or even a moral obligation to offer help and respect to the elderly.

“To give or not to give up one’s seat” has become a popular debate in recent years as many means of public transport such as buses, minibuses or mass transit railway trains feature priority seats – which should be left unoccupied for those who need them, such as the elderly, physically disabled or injured, pregnant women, or adults carrying infants, for example.

There has been increasing friction or criticism against young people for not giving up their seats. But the elderly Liu has been praised for his approach.

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