10 Peculiar Bans from Around the World

By Vincent Tan

China banned eating bananas “seductively” online, prompting disbelief, and a veritable fruit platter of pointed jokes. In protest, a man even ate a chocolate-covered banana “seductively” in front of London’s Chinese embassy, and put it online.

We all know China has a lot of red tape, with strange bans as part of the package, among them…

1) No reincarnating without permission (Tibet)

Dalai Lama shocked

Image belongs to Christopher Michel

Tibetan monks now need to ask permission from the Chinese government before reincarnating.

However, the country doesn’t (yet) have a monopoly on legislative strangeness. Here are some head-scratchers from around the world.

2) No frowning (Milan, Italy)

frown angry

Image belongs to Jeff Turner 

Luckily the city’s fashion, food and opera are great, because it’s illegal to frown except at funerals and hospitals.

3) No dying (Lanjaron, Spain)

cemetery graveyard

Image belongs to redwolf518stock 

The town’s mayor made it “forbidden to die in Lanjaron” as the new cemetery was not yet built. The rule was received as a good-humoured joke despite mild grumblings from gravediggers, florists and funeral parlour owners.

4) No fishbowls (Monza, Italy)


Image belongs to Praveen Gupta 

Fishbowls were outlawed in Monza, in part because goldfish might suffer from a “distorted view of reality”.

5) No Claire Danes (Manila, Philippines)

Claire Danes 2

Image belongs to Robin Wong 

After describing Manila as a “ghastly and weird”, Claire Danes and her films were banned from the city. Established in 1998, the ban is apparently still in effect, despite the actress’ apology.

6) No pigeon breeding (ISIS)

pigeon breeding

Image belongs to Romana Klee 

ISIS hates skinny jeans, music, chemistry, and now flying pigeons flashing their fowl genitalia. Considering it a distraction and offense to Islam, the terrorist group has banned all pigeon breeding, threatening those who fall foul of the rule with a fine, imprisonment or a flogging.

7) No offensive dictionaries (California, USA)

flower dictionary - pub dom

Image from pdpics 

Merriam Webster dictionaries were removed from primary school classrooms in Menifee for defining oral sex in a sexually graphic way as “oral stimulation of the genitals.”

8) No video gaming (Greece)

video game bemo

Image belongs to JD Hancock 

An illegal gambling machine law also outlawed video games by default because it was too vague to tell the two apart. Thousands of tourists were at risk of fines or jail terms simply for owning mobile phones or portable video games.

9) No jogging in groups (Burundi)

jogging - pexels free

With Burundi’s recent history of civil war, jogging in a group marks you out as a subversive with plans to overthrow the government.

10) No samosas (Somalia)

samosa sambusa

Image belongs to Edsel Little 

Extreme Islamist group Al-Shabaab banned the sale of these triangular pastries, reportedly because they are too closely resemble a Christian symbol of Trinity.