Chinese province says will fine civil servants who don’t smoke local cigarettes

May 4th, 2009 - 2:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Beijing, May 4 (ANI): Believe it or not, Chinese civil servants who refuse or fail to consume a sufficient amount of locally made cigarettes, will be fined.

An order to this effect has been passed in Hubei Province. The regulation set standards for the number and brands of cigarettes to be bought and used by its officials.

All local government agencies and institutions should aim to consume 230,000 packs of Hubei Province-produced cigarettes a year, or about 4 million Yuan (588,235 dollars). Departments that fail to consume sufficient cigarettes or consumed non-local brand cigarettes would be fined, Hubei-based Chutian Metropolis Daily reported.According to the Global Times, the regulation will boost the local economy via cigarette tax.

The regulation included punishments but no offenders have been fined, said an unnamed spokesman at the county public relations department. The regulation is just a general guideline and does not target specific tobacco brands, an official at the county finance bureau who refused to give his name told the Global Times yesterday.

The Hubei cigarette market is dominated by Hunan brands Furongwang, Baisha and the Yunan brand Ashima according to a NetEase.com Internet user allegedly from the same county. The measure will help the brand Huanghelou survive competition.

The measure seems intended to boost the local economy but it in fact boosts the political careers of government officials, argued another former county resident on the Netease forum. In the long run, it boosts corruption and hurts the public interest, he said. (ANI)

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