Spitting in China is like the gun laws in The United States, too lacked. As it seems like every American owns at least one gun, everyone that lives in China spits. Location and gender does not matter, outdoors or indoors, male or female spitting is a common occurrence that takes place.
While I was traveling in China (Beijing area) spitting was everywhere. The loud sound of someone hocking up a loogie is as common as hearing a car horn on the streets. Though I do not know the exact reason as to why Chinese people spit so frequently, there are theories that it is because of pollution, culture and some other reasons or combination of reasons.
I do have to admit that although I do find spitting somewhat gross, I did find myself spitting more often during my time in China. After being out all day in Beijing, when I came back to the dorm I would blow my nose into a tissue and it would be just pure black mucus; it was quite disgusting to say the least. After this experience I began to understand why so many Chinese wear a surgical mask out in public. I noticed throughout the day I would start spitting occasionally so the black mucus wouldn’t build up as much in my system.
It is literally impossible to get away from the spitting. At the nicest of places people spit on the marble flooring. For example when I visited the Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi’An, China there was a nice and clean museum. When my friend and I were walking around the exhibits people were simply spitting right on the clean museum floor; puts a different meaning in “watch your step.” When I say you can’t get away from the spitting, it’s true, even in a world famous museum like the Qin Shi Huang Terracotta Warriors & Horses Museum.
The laws in China are starting to get stricter with the spitting situations but it is still far from being fully enforced or taken seriously. So beware when traveling to China and watch your step and where you sit. And for your own sake… practice your spitting before you leave.