The Sale of Forbidden Mooncakes in China

The Mainland China Central Discipline Inspection Commission has banned the use of public funds to buy mooncakes or hold festive banquets as a measure to curb corruption this Mid-Autumn festival. (Virtualdensity/Flickr)
The Mainland China Central Discipline Inspection Commission has banned the use of public funds to buy mooncakes or hold festive banquets as a measure to curb corruption this Mid-Autumn festival. (Virtualdensity/Flickr)

Although the Mainland China Central Discipline Inspection Commission has issued a ban on using public funds to buy solid gold and silver Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes, many shops have changed the name of these gold and silver mooncakes to “Hundred Treasures” to get around the ban. In China, there is a saying:

Even though the asking price is 160,000 yuan (US$26,150) for one box, sales are still good. People who buy these specialty mooncakes are usually businessmen or government officials. They buy them as gifts for higher level government officials so they can get benefits from the government or a promotion. It is a form of bribery, but this practice is commonly known as “giving gifts”.

A store owner said that since it is now forbidden for officials to use public funds to buy these mooncakes this year, he doesn’t dare call them “gold and silver mooncakes” anymore. This is why the name has been changed.

He added that the invoices can also be changed to be for other items, such as general office supplies. However, there are many people who buy the gold and silver mooncakes who choose not to be invoiced.

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