China’s Ministry of Public Security vows to punish those who profit from disaster and crack down on violations that disrupt market order
Published: Apr 27, 2022 09:39 PM Updated: Apr 27, 2022 09:31 PM
Volunteers carry supplies at community gates in Songjiang district, Shanghai on April 15, 2022. Photo: IC
Volunteers carry supplies at community gates in Songjiang district, Shanghai on April 15, 2022. Photo: IC

China’s Ministry of Public Security vowed to severely punish those who profit from disaster and strictly crack down on violations that disrupt the order of the market economy to maintain and stabilize the epidemic prevention and control work following multiple violations amid the fight against COVID-19.

The ministry recently released a notice urging local public security departments to take more precise and effective measures to engage in the epidemic prevention and stability maintaining work to better serve and ensure overall economic and social development.

According to the notice, a series of violations that disturb the market order will be severely punished, such as making a fortune from disaster, manufacturing and selling counterfeit products, infringement of intellectual property rights, hoarding and speculation and price gouging of livelihood necessities.

Besides, illegal or criminal activities that impede the normal operations of enterprises, such as dominating the market, forced trading, malicious obstructions, violent debt collection and extortion will be severely cracked down on.

While Omicron-hit city Shanghai is placed under lockdown and all the city’s residents are confined to their homes, a series of criminal cases involving food quality and price gouging have touched upon the collective consciousness of the public.

Two township officials in Shanghai were removed from their positions for dereliction of duty and four vendors were subjected to criminal coercive measures for selling shoddy products last week after local residents in Meilong town in Minhang district, Shanghai received substandard pork products as part of livelihood supplies from the township government.

The vendors sold the pork products with excessive fat, poor taste and deterioration at the price of 7.6 million yuan ($1.16 million) to the town’s government whereas the production cost of which was merely 3 million yuan.

In another case, three sub-district officials in Zhangmiao community, Baoshan district, were suspended from their duties for further investigation after vegetables donated by other provinces to the community became rotten due to the delay of distribution and a lawbreaker reaped profits by selling the food donations to a compound in another district.

Apart from these cases, photos of a number of unqualified food products such as moldy duck in sauce and moldy canned meat distributed to local households as livelihood supplies by local governments have been circulating on the internet. The municipal people’s government spokesperson confirmed the truth of these incidents during a press briefing on April 21, and encouraged local residents to report such cases.

Free products distributed by governments are not exempt from responsibility, thus relevant suppliers will be subjected to criminal compulsory measures in accordance with laws and behaviors of dereliction of duty or interests funneling will be held accountable if problems occur, an article by Xinhua commented.

Apart from more severe punishments to violators, local departments are required by the ministry to actively help those companies in difficulties and create a secure and stable external environment for companies’ normal production and operation. Whereas, serious crimes that impede epidemic prevention and control, disrupt market and social order, and hinder economic and social development should be severely cracked down on in accordance with the law.

Global Times