Forget the fidget spinner— Chinese schools have begun banning the so-called “toothpick crossbow”
This is why you don’t miss the school yard.
The hottest toy in Chinese schools these days isn’t a fidget spinner: it’s a so-called “toothpick crossbow” that can hurt and maim. Per Chinese web portal Sina, the crossbows was originally designed to quickly release toothpicks, a common fixture at Asian dining tables, and cost between 60 cents to $2.20. However, Chinese kids have discovered that the crossbow shoots out the toothpicks with significant force— they can pierce eight consecutive newspaper pages by Sina’s estimate— and are using them for playground fights.
What’s more, some tweens are apparently replacing the toothpicks in the metal and plastic crossbows with ammunition like iron needles that can even cut through aluminum soda cans. The reaction from those over the age of 18 has been understandably negative. “This is not a toy, it’s a weapon!” Sina quotes one internet user as saying. “Henceforth, I’m not walking by an elementary school gate anymore,” another reportedly wrote.
Vendors of course are cashing in: Chinese news site Sohu found 10 vendors selling the mini crossbows near six elementary schools in the western metropolis of Chengdu. “They’ve been selling like wildfire, I’ve only two left!” one gleeful seller told Sohu.
However, the BBC reports that Chinese parents are so alarmed that police have begun cracking down on sales. JD.com and Alibaba Taobao, two major Amazon-like retail platforms, have pulled the items from its sites. And big cities like Kunming and Chengdu are starting to prohibit sales.
Given that American teachers have already banned relatively harmless fidget spinners for being classroom distractions, this doesn’t look like a Made-in-China innovation coming to the United States anytime soon.
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