Due to the slowing Chinese economy and the severe financial situation of local governments, penalties have become a source of revenue.
In 2022, the revenue from fines and confiscations has doubled in several regions, and various fines are routinely issued. A few days ago, a restaurant in Hefei was fined 5,000 yuan (740 dollars) for selling a cucumber.
According to mainland media, the State Administration for Market Regulation reportedly penalized Wang, a resident of Hefei, Anhui, 5,000 yuan for selling a salad cucumber on a takeout platform.
Wang has both a restaurant business license and a food business license. However, the Market Supervision and Regulation Bureau of Anhui said that Wang’s business license did not have “cold food,” so he was fined.
Coincidentally, an online video showed that a restaurant in Shanghai was also requested to pay cash for the fine of 10,000 yuan, due to a dish of “cold cucumbers.”
Netizens’ comments show that many families have been fined.
Recently, the mainland media has calculated revenue from confiscation data released by 111 cities across the country in 2021, and most cities have enjoyed a rapid revenue growth from fines.
They found that Qingdao, Xi’an, Wuhan, Ningbo, Nanjing, Nantong, Xuzhou, Shenzhen, Ganzhou, Weifang, Yancheng, and other cities have more than 2 billion yuan (about $296 million) in fines and confiscations.
Especially Leshan, Nanchang, Qingdao, Xiangyang, Changzhou, Yibin, Huanggang, and other cities have more than doubled their revenue from confiscation compared with 2020.
Along with the local government’s sharp increase in penalties and confiscations, numerous new instances of high fines are also being reported.
During the Chinese New Year last year, an elderly farmer in Pingjiang, Hunan, slaughtered his own pigs, as in previous years, and sold some pork to the market. He was fined 40,000 yuan (nearly 6,000 dollars) by authorities and was later enforced by the court for refusing to pay the fine.
Recently, the traffic police in Chengwu County, Shandong Province were allegedly selling “monthly tickets” to oversized and overloaded trucks. As long as the truck driver pays a fine of 1,000-2,000 yuan (148 dollars – 296 dollars) in advance, they can travel without being inspected for a month.