According to some reports, pay benches were installed in Yantai Park, Shangdong province, eastern China, and were inspired by this art piece.
“The Chinese government got this idea of coin-operated park benches after seeing an art installation by German artist Fabian Brunsing where he created a similar bench as a protest against the commercialization of modern life. The irony must’ve somehow been lost in translation.”
I couldn’t verify the Yantai Park story, and it may be a complete fabrication.
“In 2008, German design student Fabian Brunsing created a piece called Pay & Sit. It’s an art installation in the shape of a park bench with sharp metal spikes that prevent people from sitting until they deposit €0.50 (about 70 cents) in the coin slot. It’s a (literally) pointed political statement, but that didn’t stop Facebook users from taking images of the bench out of context and presenting it as one more stop along the road to criminalizing the poor.”