We already know that absolutely everything is already banned in China, including: foreign cat videos, networks of people having more fun than you, Western religious music, indoor smoking, console videogames, time travel, siblings, blue tree-worshipping cat people, Miley Cyrus, English usage in the media, pajamas in public, U.S. pork (since lifted), Bjork, and the employment of strippers at funerals.
However, as many have already witnessed, many bans in China are regularly flouted and ignored.
The latest edicts to be so disrespected are the bans on golf courses and free-of-charge plastic bags.
Despite the 2004 ban on golf-courses for being ‘too bourgeois’, China saw a 14 percent increase in the number of golf courses last year, with 60 new 18-hole courses, bringing the total to 490 courses.
However, only 10 of the 490 courses are licensed, with inventive developers relabeling golf courses as ‘greenbelt areas’ and ‘country parks’.
Bloomberg reports that the serious issue of arable land shortage in China is no match for the lure of golf-tourism revenue:
The central government failed to effectively curb the construction of the courses partly because of local government interests, the land ministry said in December 2009 on its web site, without elaborating. Some courses skirted supervision and won approval under the name of “forest parks,” it said.
Local governments made 2.7 trillion yuan ($415.5 billion) in 2010 selling rights to farmland for non-agricultural purposes, with total land sales constituting 60 to 70 percent of revenue, according to Landesa, a Seattle-based organization that works to secure land rights for the poor.
And in other ban-defying news, Shanghai Daily reports that almost three years after the free provision of plastic bags was outlawed, many restaurants and stores still have yet to change their policy:
Inside an outlet of a popular bakery chain on downtown Maoming Road N., free plastic bags were being given away at a speed of nearly one a minute yesterday afternoon.
At KFC, some diners said they hoped the fast-food chain would continue to offer free plastic bags because it would be inconvenient for them to pay for them.
“It’s hassle for me to search through my pocket for a couple of jiao coins just to pay for a plastic bag,” said one diner.
But in all fairness to the offending vendors, this is hardly new. Ignoring the ban on free plastic bags has already been the status quo for some time.
We at Shanghaiist propose a plan whereby the price of plastic bags would be raised to 1RMB and strictly enforced, with the government then introducing free toilet paper at all public restrooms to appease expensive-bag angst from the public. Now, that would be really wenming.
We’re betting that Coco Lee, who composed a catchy BYOB anthem, would certainly approve. Hear Coco urging us to ‘Let’s Bring Your Own Bag!’ at 1:07 in the video below.
By Fan Huang