The benefits of the ban on alcohol use during lunch for officials at Xinyang City (信阳市) were clear: 43 million yuan in public funds saved in half a year, and a round of applause from the public. Then came the protests, especially from the liquor companies, some of whom say their sales have dropped as much as a third in the city.
Local alcohol vendors are now asking the Henan provincial legislature to declare the alcohol ban “illegal” and to help local economic development. Their argument: Public service officers drinking alcohol at lunch is a private matter and the law is not supposed to intervene with the personal business. But drinking at noon may very well influence their public service in the afternoon, which is to say that drinking during working hours is not purely personal business. The same goes with DUI: Drinking doesn’t necessarily result in accidents but the possibility of accidents justifies intervention.
The alcohol firms’ seem to be suggesting that corruption is a form of productivity, as most officials cannot afford to drink the high-end alcohol products out of their own pockets. So the Henan government is faced with a choice between “corruption productivity” or “government credibility.” [Full Text in Chinese]
Previously on CDT – Alcohol Ban At Lunch Saves Millions, Contributes to Social Harmony – Xinhua Henan