As Mid-Autumn Festival (a major Chinese holiday to be held Sept. 12 this year) approaches, fancy and excessive packaging has once again increased the prices of many products, including mooncakes, despite protests from the public and the media. For example, a bottle of Wuliangye baijiu (distilled liquor) with its top and pedestal covered with 180 grams gold costs 290,000 yuan ($44,442), according to the English-language China Daily newspaper.
Excerpts from the story include:
Ordinary people cannot even dream of buying high-priced wine, tea and mooncakes even without the exorbitant packaging that increase their prices manyfold. The government has launched repeated crackdowns to rid the market of luxurious packaging, but the trend still flourishes. In fact, it has become even more prevalent during festivals.
The corruption behind such practices should not be underestimated. The reason why some people welcome festival gifts laced with luxury packaging and exorbitant prices is that they can gift them to some officials in return for favors without worrying about being accused of paying bribes.
Because of their prices, luxurious gifts have become a tool for corruption. Among such gifts are paintings with gold-laced frames and gold or silver mooncakes.
To put an end to excessive packaging, the quality control department should strengthen the rules of packaging and see to it that they followed strictly. And the pricing and discipline inspection departments have to take strict measures to curb high prices and check the expenses for personal needs, as well as intensify public supervision.
Only by cutting the demand chain and preventing people from buying and accepting luxurious gifts can the authorities check corruption.
(China Daily 09/01/2011 page9)