Store owners in Shenyang, a north-eastern city in China's Liaoning province, have shut down their stores to avoid fines by public officials.
The situation has got so severe, that residents of the North-eastern Chinese city have taken to micro-blog Weibo complaining that it's a "dead city" where they can't purchase anything, according to the BBC.
Store owners have reportedly closed shop on concerns that public officials would be imposing exorbitant fines after surprise inspections, and on concerns about a crackdown on fake products.
The Associated Press quoted online commenters saying that grocery store owners would be fined 60,000 yuan ($9,413) if toothpicks are for sale in shops without a forestry license. And that restaurant owners would be fined 10,000 yuan ($1,569) for each fly found in his restaurant.
More anecdotal reports from Tea Leaf Nation quote a Weibo commenter writing that an old woman selling tofu was fined 2,000 yuan ($300) for not wearing a face mask.
These commenters also speculated that the local government crackdown was prompted to cover debts that it amassed for hosting the 12th National Games that will be held in Shenyang next month.
While it is unclear how factual these reports are the official blog of Shenyang's propaganda bureau has denied the rumors. Via the BBC: "Recently some small businesses closed their doors after hearing unfounded rumors. ...Relevant authorities have neither carried out dedicated campaigns nor imposed heavy fines."
The closures meanwhile are spreading to other cities in the province and news reports say as many as 90 percent of stories in the province have already shuttered their storefronts.
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