Chinese City Gets Serious About Traffic Enforcement . . . Maybe a Little Too Serious

A program that allows undercover inspectors to keep 80 percent of any fines proves (un)remarkably effective.

Chinese cities, like cities anywhere, are under constant pressure to find revenue sources for municipal services, with human nature rendering traffic offenses a predictably reliable source. One Chinese city came under fire this week for doing so with an exceptional degree of vigor.

The Xiaoxiang Morning Post reported that Shaoyang City had hired some 1,000 plainclothes inspectors to issue traffic citations, with the inspectors pocketing 80% of any fines charged. Not surprisingly, the investigation found inspectors citing even trivial offenses, such as straying into a pedestrian zone while stopped at an intersection.

"The program is one of many that have cropped up across China, ranging from heavy fines on business owners for arbitrary infringements, to garnishing the wages of teachers, that local governments are using to prop up their finances," notes reporter Annie Wu.

Thanks to Rachel Proctor May

Full Story: 'Traffic Fines' Used to Plug Hole in Chinese City Budget


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