[Update] The official Weibo account of the city of Shenyang said that there was no large scale government inspection of any kind. And there was no hefty fines. It also urged small business owners to not to believe in rumors to re-open stores. A very “official” and cliche government response.
Pictures of Shenyang, capital and largest city in China’s Northern province Liaoning, turning into a ghost town started to circulate online yesterday. There is no confirmed reason of why stores in the city were closed by large scale all of a sudden, only speculations.
One version of the speculation has that Shenyang, the city to hold China’s National Games, is short of funding so that local government organized a new round of anti-counterfeit and public hygiene inspections among small private businesses to harvest fines from small business owners.
Another version stared on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, rumored that all the shutting-down was due to a bigger –than-ever inspection of illegitimate businesses. A toothpick wholesale store at a big local market was caught and fined because it didn’t have a license for forestry.
凯迪网络, the official Weibo account of KDNET.com, a popular liberal BBS in China, shared similar stories via a long Weibo post. According to the post, Shenyang has turned into a complete ghost town. Most small businesses in the city were closed, including bath centers and pharmacies. It was even hard to buy food, bottled water and soy sauce.
Though it’s still unclear why all stores closed overnight, a post shared by netizen 小寒日志 showed a government document issued by local police department saying that all stores were asked to re-open by 3 pm in the afternoon. The document, or the part that was shared on Weibo, didn’t mention anything about what lead to a ghost town Shenyang.