Shenyang Shops Close En Masse Fearing Inspections and Fines

Storefronts in Shengyang closed due to rumors of harsh inspections and severe fines.

Shops all throughout Shenyang city in Liaoning province of China were suddenly closed as business owners feared harsh inspections and fines cracking down on counterfeit and substandard goods and products.

Several days ago, this is what many streets throughout Shenyang, the capital city of Liaoning province, the largest city in northeast China, looked like.

Shops all throughout Shenyang city in Liaoning province of China were suddenly closed as business owners feared harsh inspections and fines cracking down on counterfeit and substandard goods and products.

Shops all throughout Shenyang city in Liaoning province of China were suddenly closed as business owners feared harsh inspections and fines cracking down on counterfeit and substandard goods and products.

Shops all throughout Shenyang city in Liaoning province of China were suddenly closed as business owners feared harsh inspections and fines cracking down on counterfeit and substandard goods and products.

Why? What happened? See if you can figure it out…

From People.com:

Shenyang Shops Close En Masse, Suspected to Be Because of Anti-Counterfeit and Substandard Goods Punishments Ahead of the National Games

A City of Closed Storefronts

“Urgent Proposal: Many shops in Shenyang are closed, and there are rumors everywhere. The authorities urgently need to make a statement, and restore stability among the people…” On the afternoon of August 6th, Liaoning province CPPCC member Zhuang Tingwei submitted an urgent proposal and at the same time publicized it on the Sina Weibo microblog service, hoping that Shenyang city’s relevant authorities will quickly respond to citizen concerns and netizen questions.

On this day, microblogs, discussion forums, and various other internet spaces were heatedly discussing Shenyang’s “Great Depression” and “the city of closed shops” while many Shenyang citizens were directly inconvenienced: unable to get a haircut, unable to buy nails, unable to eat lunch. And according to further information, there had been similar situations other cities in Liaoning Province such as Dalian, Benxi, Anshan and Fushun.

Storefronts in Shengyang closed due to rumors of harsh inspections and severe fines.

Can’t Even Find A Place to Buy Rice

Many complaints from Shenyang citizens had been seen on Weibo, “@沈阳之最” said that the restaurant he worked at was closed and he was forced to take a unpaid vacation while “@雨曉菜” told this reporter that even though she lives in the downtown area of Shenyang, now “it is even impossible to buy a bottle of water because none of the supermarkets/convenience stores are open”. Miss Weng who works in an auto parts store in Wu’ai Market said that she went shopping for clothes with her friend the other day but every shop was closed. “It was rather amusing”. And her own shop has been often closed these days as well.

“More deserted than even Spring Festival [when everybody goes back to their hometown to celebrate the holiday]” is the feeling of many city residents. What more, the situation was even worse in the surrounding areas, because at least in the big city of Shenyang the big supermarkets and restaurants were still open whereas according to local news, 95% of the shops and stores in places like Liaozhong County were closed, to the point where for a time it was impossible to find someplace to buy rice or oil. One Liaozhong resident who was unsuccessful in buying rice said to local media, “If you were to come to Liaozhong at this time and stayed for 5 days, you’d probably starve to death!”

Storefronts in Shengyang closed due to rumors of harsh inspections and severe fines.

“Crackdown On Fake and Shoddy Products” Rumor Causes Businesses to Close

As reported by Shenyang’s local media, ever since July 13th, a large number of businesses in markets such as Dongbei and Wu’ai had closed their doors, the reason being rumors of law enforcement inspecting and cracking down on fake or shoddy products though no one knew just who was doing the inspections. At the time when reporters had contacted both the Industrial and Commercial Administration of the district and the city, both of them said they had not been notified of any law enforcement activities. According to a report by Dongbei News Net, because the crackdown was too ruthless and too strict, some shop owners would rather suffer losses from closing their shops than opening their shops to be checked.

Afterwards, Anshan, Fushun, Benxi, Dalian, and other areas one after another witnessed the phenomenon of large numbers of stores being closed. According to their local media reports, the situations were more or less the same, all reporting rumors of a crackdown on counterfeit or shoddy goods or major inspections to see if the business owners had “all 5 certificates”, “all 6 certificates” or “all 7 certificates” though no one knew just what certificates were required or what authority was making the inspections, only rumors that any problem discovered would result in severe fines, and people didn’t want to “ask for trouble” so they decided to just close their shops for the time being.

One shop owner told this reporter that normally he’s not afraid of inspections, but he thinks the inspections this time aren’t the normal kind, with rumors at the time saying the fines levied were in the tens of thousands of yuan each, and that they were even arresting people and confiscating goods. “For example, if you had an employee whose ‘health certificate’ did not go through the annual inspection last year, he would be taken away right away, and you have to pay money to get him back. Never has it been like this before.”

Storefronts in Shengyang closed due to rumors of harsh inspections and severe fines.

A “Enforcement Campaign” Ahead of the National Games?

Is there really a crackdown on counterfeit goods and enforcement campaign, and why did it have such a huge effect?

Shenyang’s Industrial and Commercial Administration explained to the local media that the inspections were part of the operation to crack down on fake and shoddy products in anticipation of the National Games to be held in Shenyang next year, led by the Shenyang Public Security Bureau, with cooperation from the Industrial and Commercial Bureau. Once the fine is up to a certain amount, “the Public Security Bureau could actually detain people, which is how this situation was caused.”

According to the local media, a reporter heard an announcement at the Wu’ai Market saying, “From July 7th to July 16th, there will be a 10-day campaign cracking down on economic crimes, with public security [police/authorities] cracking down in accordance with the law on those specifically engaged in selling goods bearing counterfeit registered trademarks, counterfeit goods, and similar behavior… those engaged in the illegal sale of fake and substandard goods will be cracked down upon and violators will uniformly be prosecuted for legal liability…”

The reporter learnt that the “battle” mentioned in the broadcast refers to a “battle of severely punishing economic crimes”, the “case-solving battle” is considered the major mission of the local police.

Storefronts in Shengyang closed due to rumors of harsh inspections and severe fines.

An August 6th notice from the Shenyang Public Security Bureau (Donglin District Division):

Notice by Chinese police ordering the reopening of shops in Shenyang.

Local police stations and relevant units:

As requested by [Shenyang’s] Public Security Bureau, every local police station shall organize all police staff to go deep into their jurisdictions to learn information on the problem of small shops, restaurants and other businesses closing, and to propagate and lead. All business must be reopened before 3pm today, the PSB will be inspecting how this is working starting from this noon.

All local police stations please report the closing and reopening information to the PSB before 3pm today. Explanations will be needed for shops that are still closed.

Shops all throughout Shenyang city in Liaoning province of China were suddenly closed as business owners feared harsh inspections and fines cracking down on counterfeit and substandard goods and products.

From iFeng:

Shenyang Responds to Shops Closing Down: Will Earnestly Deal with the Indiscriminate Fining and Law Enforcement

In the face of continuous pressure from internet public opinion, on the morning of Augst 7th, the official Shenyang Municipal Party Committee Propaganda Department microblog account “@沈阳发布” released a statement denying they had implemented measures involving targeted enforcement and high fines. August 8th afternoon, the Shenyang Municipal Party Committee Propaganda Department made yet another statement regarding this matter, claiming that “any arbitrary inspections, indiscriminate fines, and related illegal enforcement and rough enforcement behavior, once confirmed, will be sternly dealt with in accordance with the law, and the relevant departments and responsible persons will be held accountable. We also hope that business owners will forgive their misgivings and open their businesses without worries.”

A newer notice by the Shenyang Public Security Bureau (Heping District Division):

Notice by Chinese police announcing the end of inspections reassuring businesses that they can rest assured and open their business as usual.

The 2012 anti-counterfeit-and-shoddy-products measures launched in cooperation with the Shenyang Municipal Government have come to a conclusion. According to an urgent meeting held by the Shenyang Municipal Government on August 6th, all inspections against markets have been put to an end. We hope all shop owners will open their businesses as usual. If any public security units from other jurisdictions happen to come and take inspections, they must be accompanied by local police. Otherwise, shop owners may dial 110 to call the police.

Shops all throughout Shenyang city in Liaoning province of China were suddenly closed as business owners feared harsh inspections and fines cracking down on counterfeit and substandard goods and products.

Comments from Sina Weibo:

李维-久阳闪户:

Shenyang will be holding the 2013 National Games, but the [provincial government] has no money, so they thought of a way to collect/extort money from the ordinary common people. A city resident reacted: “Fruit vendors whose fruits are detected as having chemical fertilizer are fined, while clothes sellers whose clothes are found to have quality problems are also fined. Supermarkets selling toothpicks must have a ‘Deforestation Certificate’, computer retailers must have a Health Certificate, and those selling steamed buns without wearing face masks are also fined. The fines range from a few thousand on the low end to over ten thousand on the high end.”

快乐的芭乐小公主:

What does you getting fined for having problems have anything to do with the Party?!

海牛_哥哥:

Detain? Kidnapping for ransom is kidnapping for ransom, why use such a high-sounding word [as “detain”]?

企鹅大人:

If 95% of the shops are closed, doesn’t it mean that 95% of Shenyang’s shops are selling fake goods?

酷儿随心:

Fortunately Liaoning isn’t holding the Olympics.

无聊上:

Looks like the gangsters are collecting their protection fees, only this time they collected too quickly, and too much.

陈晓民_:

The Public Security Bureau taking the lead in cracking down on fake and substandard goods. Sounds funny to me. Are they actually cracking down on counterfeit goods or getting into fights? [This comment is best understood in Chinese due to the homonyms.]

同学HAN:

This is exactly the result of too much bureaucracy! Running a business nowadays is already extremely difficult.

宁云尚清:

Yesterday on a CCTV interview, the Industrial and Commercial Administration was still flatly denying it, saying there were no inspections, that the business owners simply listened to rumors and panicked.

莹莹想回家1993:

The government does not have the money for the National Games, so they’re trying to collect money everywhere. Fuck, who knows what group of bastards squandered the money we pay in taxes.

为明Dennis:

I get the feeling the whole country is going to revolt soon.

信仰在空中飘扬P:

The Japanese devils have reached the village [so everybody close their door and hide], [except these people] are worse than the Japanese devils.

叫涐小胡月:

The truth is simply that the ZF is short on money for the National Games.

Shops all throughout Shenyang city in Liaoning province of China were suddenly closed as business owners feared harsh inspections and fines cracking down on counterfeit and substandard goods and products.

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  • Sean

    Ugh, yeah, it sucks here.

  • BigJ

    Them people are scared as shit. Something must have happened they are not telling us for people to do that, not just rumors.

    • david

      zombies.

      bio/chemical leak.

      seen the movie The Crazies?

  • BigJ

    And if this is becouse of fake or harmful products…..well you need to shut all of china down, not just this town.

    • What Louis Vuitton are doing now, is supplying all LV outlets with laser surface identifiers of key parts of product and packaging. What comes out of the LV factory, will always match to a product sold. This is because badly-vetted staff sometimes switch fakes for real INSIDE department stores. Guaranteed to happen somewhere in CN (maybe not this city as it seems a bit rough-looking).

      • Beijinger

        Shenyang is rough. Interestingly I saw a lot of LV, Prada, etc. stores, though nobody was actually in them buying things.

        • Blimey. LV and Prada must have some loss-making stores. I take it there is a glitzy shopping mall in this city where LV and Prada are located? Regardless of the unfortunate lack of footfall.

  • Opalivian

    Fake rice?

    • BigJ

      Yeah i was reading about that a few weeks ago……they use potatoes and plastic to make fake rice…….really…..fake rice…

  • lonetrey

    Problem is, the shops are looking to avoid trouble, not avoid getting caught. Even if they’re legit, they probably are scared shitless of an inspection, or of recieving trumped up charges, or whatever.

    Seems like the government’s fearmongering and intimidation worked a little too well in this case. Not that I support their tactics anyways.

    • As an outsider, I will say that if they were all tipped-off that an inspection was to occur…not a lot has been achieved. Each one of the electronics shops will still be selling Apple power supplies which bang, fizzle, and turn into a toxic pyrotechnic goo. My 2 cents worth. I haven’t been to China for a year or two.

  • Charles

    Hysterical – this is exactly the same thing that happened in Dandong last week! These inspections are worse than meaningless.

    1) They tell everyone before they are coming and inspect the whole city at once (as opposed to year-round random limited inspections that would be more effective because people wouldn’t see them coming.)

    2) Nearly everyone closes shop – so not many inspection actually takes place. Dandong turned into a ghost town for a few days. It was worse than Spring Festival.

    3) The inspections that do take place are irrational. For example one shop in Dandong selling tooth picks was fined for not having the appropriate documentation to sell wood products – including the paperwork for cutting down trees. (at least that is the rumor) If they want to fine you – they will fine you – no matter how clean your place of business is.

    4) The fines are way too high. A small restaurant can be fined 20K for one violation and that is a cripplingly heavy burden in a city like Dandong.

    5) Many who are fined will not actually pay – they will just “look for someone” in the government who they can bribe to have the fines suspended.

    6) In essence, these inspections are a money making scheme for those in the provincial government. They are looking for excuses to fine people, without regard for the rationality of the fine.

    Welcome to China – where the government seems to take no part of its responsibility seriously. Come on Liaoning! You can do better than this!

    • StupidAmerican

      I wonder what the cost of certificates is. I wonder if it’d be worth it for one entity to become completely legal and try to ride out the inspections while being the only one on the block who’s selling.

      • Sean

        It’s not just the cost of the certificates…. they’re also just damn hard to get because you need to have a buddy in the government to take care of it.

        • Charles

          @Sean – That’s is what I have heard from the local people I’ve talked to. You have to have “friends” with contacts or bribe people (or both) just to run a business and in some cases you need pay off the local gangs as well.

          For example, street BBQ is very popular in this city and last year I found out that one of the most popular BBQ streets is controlled by gangs. So if you want to run a stall there, you’ve got to pay up.

          Crazy! I had previously thought that this kind of “mafioso” behavior was limited to brothels and questionable bars.

    • FrankZafka

      The Shenyang situation is a result of panic and rumors. Everyone has heard about the screwy situation in Dandong where the police actually DID stop by and tell the shops to close or face fines ranging from 40,000-50,000 RMB.
      No one was told what the inspection was for and which documents to prepare. Like most things here the government flubbed it bad and the shops re-opened much earlier than the August 10 target date.

  • crimsonarmor

    Cracking down on fake goods, health and hygiene standards, and fruit and veg that has not been chemically fertilized?

    You would have to shut down the entire country and then where would we be?

    I say let everyone sell and do business as usual, plus I need to get my hair cut asap cause I fancy my hair dresser. She’s so hot!

    • lonetrey

      What if shutting down the whole country for a year was what’s necessary to setting the entire country’s businesses on the same track as the rest of the world? Would it be worth it then?

      • nereis

        That would result in the entire Chinese economy’s destruction, resulting in widespread famine and poverty as no one can buy food, water or energy to heat their homes.

  • moonmickey

    No wonder all the big gov crooks are running away to Canada, China is going to implode by 2015. Then we will throw them all out of Canada and they can go home to face their people.

  • HarryH

    Yeah it sucks. Took me ages to get cigarettes that day. Had absolutely no idea was going on until now. I’m surprised even the mighty wuai closed its doors.

  • cc

    Judging from the pictures the place looks a complete shithole anyway, probably best to just nuke it and be done with it.

    • Dude… One expat who knows this city states that there are LV and Prada shops. I am convinced these entire shops – buildings, logos, products – are fake. Or LV and Prada have simply lost it…

      • Beijinger

        They certainly looked real. The only explanation that I can come up with is that the luxury brands are trying to expand into the lower tier cities. Despite Shenyang being less than a desirable place to live, I did see quite a few Mercedes, Audi, etc. Though I can’t see how the store will operate at anything else other than a massive loss. One of the many things here I can’t wrap my head around.

        • Shenyang is the largest and most important city in the Northeast, a region of over a hundred million people, and despite these few photos of local neighborhoods is awash in new wealth. Key local industries include automobile manufacturing, high technology and higher education, as well as coal and mineral extraction in the surrounding areas. There are luxury shopping malls and apartment complexes of massive scale springing up everywhere here, and one suspects they are not targeting the kind of clientele that frequent the modest establishments pictured above.

          • Terrik

            Yeah, I lived in Shenyang for a year. Lived right on 太原街, one of the major commercial centers. As it’s been said, there’s a ton of new wealth and just in the year and a half that I haven’t been living there, many areas have transformed so much I could barely recognize them. The pictures themselves don’t quite tell Shenyang’s whole story. Plus it was arguably the best time I’ve had living in China thus far.

          • maja

            pretty much every chinese city has places like the ones shown in the photos, I guess there was some sarcasm in the posts above.

          • Beijinger

            I actually had a blast while I was visiting Shenyang as well. It is true that there are a lot of new developments, shopping malls, Bentley etc. being built. It is just that when I went into some of the stores, there tended to be nobody in them. In my experience though the majority of the city was nothing to write home about. I could of course be wrong, but I really think that luxury market in China has become saturated.

          • Beijinger

            I actually had a blast while I was visiting Shenyang as well. It is true that there are a lot of new developments, shopping malls, Bentley dealerships, etc. being built. It is just that when I went into some of the stores, there tended to be nobody in them. In my experience though the majority of the city was nothing to write home about. I could of course be wrong, but I really think that luxury market in China has become saturated.

          • Beijinger

            I actually had a blast while I was visiting Shenyang as well. It is true that there are a lot of new developments, shopping malls, Bentley dealerships, etc. already existing or being built. It is just that when I went into some of the stores, there tended to be nobody in them. In my experience though the majority of the city was nothing to write home about. I could of course be wrong, but I really think that luxury market in China has become saturated.

    • Charles

      @CC Do you live in China? This looks pretty good compared with most of the country. Shenyang is a massive city and is quite decent by Chinese standards, especially for the NE. Not quite as “clean” or nice as Dalian but it’s getting there.

      • cc

        Yes I do live in China, on the outskirts of that bigger shithole called Beijing

  • Harland

    Funny how nobody even considers that they might not want to sell contaminated food or pay taxes so that they get their license stamps. Employees with health certifications? Heaven forbid!

    • hmmm.

      you-must-be-new-here.jpg

  • glenn

    I wonder if they announce that it will be implemented through out the nation, how many shops would remain open?

  • pokosan

    Personally i want to shut down fake tits celebrities in america

  • North East Lao Why

    The thieving Police are out in force in Shenyang, now also all the restaurants have no where to sit outside, these thieving police are going around nicking all the tables and chairs, what a cunch of bunts ! No where to sit outside in August WTF is wrong with these fwits, self self self, no concern for the working man and his small pleasures in life, like a beer & a chwar, only greed greed greed, always shown by the rich and powerful. Oh China how developed you are now, just as greedy and horrible as the west in such a short time, Workers rise up, don’t put up with this shit !

    • Harland

      Sidewalks are public property in China, private businesses have no right to take from others. The fact that you’re used to sidewalk cafes back home has nothing to do with it.

  • Just goes to show that all Chinese are criminals… doesn’t it?

  • Hongjian

    Any fucker who comes here and says something about “Oh, but I love the Chinese! I only hate their gubbermint!” should line himself up and get shot for isane stupidity.

    This example here is what Lu Xun and all other Chinese cultural critics past and present complained, when talking about the problems of China. The people, yes, the very people some of you fuckers here claim to “love” are insufferable crooks and shitheads, who do not deserve any mercy and leniency under the govt rule.
    Sure, the govt. is corrupt and also manned by the same crooks and insufferable assholes, but the fact that the very people always find ways to out-crook govt like this, is why China’s society is so cancerous. A self-strenghtening vicious circle of bullshit. Cant the people just stop and learn some discipline and self-control?

    Mao should have brainwashed my Chinese compariots some more years to drive every last bit of “that” kind of humanity out of them. It would be so much easier to rule a China populated by emotionless, absolutely obedient robots than this bunch of insufferable faggots and rascals who cant generate anything but chaos. This is nearly as bad as those tribal sand-niggers in arabia who cant into nation states.

    • Guess someone’s pissed that all the brothels in Shenyang were shuttered, too.

      • Roger

        My thought exactly lol.

        Being an Expat here for many years, it does get frustrating at times at the receiving end of selfish or immoral acts. Though I am a firm believer that all man are equal, it’s their surrounding that changes their actions.

        The current situation in China is painful. Just today driving to work, I saw a man peddling his wife and 3 kids in a bike with a wooden wagon, right next to him is a benz trying to cut into the bicycle lane to skip ahead. If you are brought up in this enviornment you too will do everything in your power to get ahead of the selfish crowd, the inbalanced and unjusted society, just so you could provide for your kids a better enviornment.

        I don’t claim to have a solution, and I doubt anyone has for all the problem surrounding China, but don’t be so cynical. Prosperity and liberity does not come overnight. It takes education, resources, and generations of progress.

        Many citizen in China have already woken up and realize much of the problem. People are not as blind to their government as before, and with time, effort and luck I am hopeful that possitive change will arrive in China.

        • Kevin

          Roger,

          Don’t listen to the fat Yanks who just want to implant Philadelphia or whatever hell hole they come from, into China.

          I’ve lived in China for five years or more, run a decent business without bureaucracy problems, but I’ve never met a Septic who can assimilate into a place that doesn’t have a Starbucks.

          Shallow, over-critical tossers the lot of them, bereft of hope in the fact that the world is overtaking them and leaving them in the dust.

          Usually their first question is ‘where can I get a good pizza??’ when actually there is no such thing as a good pizza.

          • Kevin Food hygiene is important and that’s why people look for global franchises. Try being positive or negative about aspects of China, when your sphincter is issuing something resembling canal water at 300 km/h.

    • BigJ

      “closer to the heart” by RUSH!!
      And the men who hold high places
      Must be the ones who start
      To mould a new reality
      Closer to the Heart
      Closer to the Heart

      The Blacksmith and the Artist
      Reflect it in their art
      Forge their creativity
      Closer to the Heart
      Yeah, it’s closer to the Heart

      Philosophers and Ploughmen
      Each must know his part
      To sow a new mentality
      Closer to the Heart
      Yeah, it’s closer to the Heart

      You can be the Captain and
      I will draw the Chart
      Sailing into destiny
      Closer to the Heart

  • Cleo

    Someone has to be bankrolling counterfeiters because you need machines and buildings and the yakuza just got caught returning from China with a fresh supply of fake stamps.

    mm hmm

    What is UP with Shenyang – first raising Japanese war orphans as your own when Chinese won’t even adopt trick babies or raise their neighbor’s excess baby girls – unless they are chivalrous like Chef Ming Tsai’s ancestor who adopted girls when he had enough money to do so. None of this makes any sense.

    There has to be ONE connection point, you know?

  • The pinyin spelling of “inspection” is “ex-tor-shun”

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