China is a nation in transition. While things may have changed since the student riots and police brutality at Tiananmen Square, the more things change, the more they stay the same. There is still the discipline of communist practice that gets lip service. And the Chinese are known for keeping their feelings to themselves, So when the top military brass chose to buy some luxury sedans and show them off, government decided to get tough and crack down on this flashy behavior.
The government of President Xi Jinping has overhauled its image by banning the usage of military number plates on high end cars. The system had started veering towards out-and-out corruption and malpractice. Many military personnel were taking liberties with state rules by blatantly spurning traffic regulations. This had led to chaos on a widespread level. The license plates had even been sold off at slashed prices to civilians. This was simply too much for the government to digest. The major problem for the Chinese authorities was one of image. Loss of face is a problem in the Far East. Many hecklers had started posting pictures of the obviously illegal activities on Twitter.
In a new edict that has been broadly applied by People's Liberation Army General Logistics Department , military license plates have been banned from being installed on luxury German, American and Japanese cars like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Cadillac, Lincoln, Volkswagen Phaeton, Bentley, Jaguar and certain models of the famous Porsche. According to Reuters, a limit has been set: cars worth more than $73,000 will not sport such number plates. Just to be on the safe side a series of all-new plates will be passed out by the government. The old ones will be collected in order to discourage con artists. The sale of luxury automobiles is big business in China. And military personnel are the main market for these pricey products of metal and glass.
It was a belated step, but as the saying goes better late than never. The government wanted to polish the image of its military. Xi Jinping especially had it on his agenda to fight corruption. A clean slate is what he is after. The communist party and governmental state may be stuck in a quandary here. And action is necessary before matters get out of hand.
Image Credit: Reuters