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An entire city in China has literally shut up shop as nearly all of its stores close after it was falsely reported that officials were planning a clampdown on the sale of counterfeit products. Officials in Shenyang city are now begging store owners to reopen after 95 per cent of shops remain closed. The online rumour sparked fears that the local council needed to get more revenue and had ordered taxmen to come down hard on shop owners.
A news release on Shenyang's media bureau said: ‘Recently some small businesses closed their doors after hearing unfounded rumours. ‘This has caused many problems and we can only reiterate that these rumours are false - and there are no raids being planned.’ ‘Relevant authorities have neither carried out dedicated campaigns nor imposed heavy fines.’
The Southern Metropolis Daily said shop closures had started on 13 July and spread from there as more rumours spread about the supposed fines. Shopkeepers questioned by local media said they would rather close their doors than lose money. Residents in Shenyang have posted tens of thousands of angry entries on Chinese microblog Sina Weibo as well as photos of closed shops.