Saturday, 12 May 2012

Chinese ordered to smoke more to boost economy

Written by Harb

China's is a goal-oriented government. The health or sensitivities of its people is secondary to achieving goals it sets itself upon.

The famous saying of its late leader Deng Xiaoping - who was second only to Mao Tse Tung in popularity and ruled China with a firm hand from 1978 to 1992 - that "The colour of the cat does not matter so long as it catches mice" says it all.

In this connection Mr A Bisht's article "Children in China put on Drip to perform better.." on this blog(11/5/2012) reminds me of a similarly themed story I read some time ago. The story was about an edict issued by a provincial government in China to smoke more to boost economy.

Though the stroy is a bit old it fits nicely into the environment of Mr Bisht's article and moreover needs to be given again if for nothing ese at least to thank God for our form of "democratic" government which with all its shortcomings still cannot play with the health of its people so brazenly.

The story first published in and written by one Mr Peter Foster in Beijing goes as under:

Local government officials in China have been ordered to smoke nearly a quarter of a million packs of cigarettes in a move to boost the local economy during the global financial crisis.

The edict, issued by officials in Hubei province in central China, threatens to fine officials who "fail to meet their targets" or are caught smoking rival brands manufactured in neighbouring provinces. 

Even local schools have been issued with a smoking quota for teachers, while one village was ordered to purchase 400 cartons of cigarettes a year for its officials, according to the local government's website. 

The move, which flies in the face of national anti-smoking policies set in Beijing, is aimed at boosting tax revenues and protecting local manufacturers from outside competition from China's 100 cigarette makers. 

In total, officials have been ordered to puff their way through 230,000 packs of Hubei-branded cigarettes worth £400,000.

(Looking at the photo at the right it seems some officials have outsourced the assignment to achieve targets in time )

China's government has ordered massive government spending at both national and provincial levels to prop up the economy following plummeting demand for Chinese exports abroad, however imposing a cigarette quota is unusual. 

"The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax," said Chen Nianzu, a member of the Gong'an cigarette market supervision team. 

China has 350 million smokers, about a million of whom die each year from smoking-related illnesses. 

Despite anti-smoking campaigns, cigarette taxes form a major component of China's annual tax-take at local level. 

Local authorities in Gong'an county are taking the cigarette quota seriously and have established a "special taskforce" to enforce it.

Can one imagine, though I wonder if he should not really do so, our Singh government ordering people to drink so and so number of desi daru (local drink) bottles to help villagers set up desi daru breweries and thus boost village economy?


0 constructive comments: