When we got on there was not a spare seat but we saw the designated seats sign.
Mum stood in front of one of the men sitting in the designated seat reading his paper, tapped his knee and pointed to the sign. He looked at it, looked at her and looked away. So she tapped again and pointed. He mumbled something at the man next to him, they both laughed and ignored her. So mum stood right in front of him, in his personal space (if there is such a thing in China) and started tapping his knee saying excuse me over and over very loudly . She was getting annoyed.
After a few minutes of this the man got up.
Finally ! We thought, some respect, nope it was his station.
The ladies on the train were laughing, one spoke reasonable English and said basically the men will not give up their seats even for their own mothers.