Got this message over MSN from lzh:
"提醒大家,以后 麦当劳、肯德基 一定要记得要发票 麦当劳、肯德基每年在中国因为我们不 习惯要发票的原因而掠走将近20亿元的税收 把这条信息完 (不 加任何修改复制)发2个群的奖励200Q币 发3个群的奖励一个太阳300个Q币.以次类推．
My really bad translation:
"Remind everybody, from no on at McDonalds and KFC you must remember to get a receipt. McDonalds and KFC every year in China, because we're not in the habit of asking for receipts, are plundering close to 2,000,000,000 yuan in tax revenue. Send this complete message (don't add any revisions or copies)..."
Now, I'm sorry, but that bit about the rewards is way over my head. I've got no idea what it's talking about. I know "Q币" is one of those virtual currencies. But I can't figure out what "一个太阳300个Q币" is supposed to mean. I guess the statement "I know "Q币" is one of those virtual currencies" is a pretty big giveaway that I don't bother moving in circles where I would learn what such things as "一个太阳300个Q币" would mean. But such things don't interest me, and so I'm sitting here thinking "One sun and 300 Q dollars? What?" And I can't figure out what "群" is supposed to refer to. Group? Is this a defined number of people?
Anyway, translation queries aside:
Interesting, though, that little note at the end: "此活动由中国税务局赞助/This activity is supported by the China Administration of Taxation". My dictionary, which is a little out of date, gives the name of the organisation as "国家税务局/State Administration of Taxation". Has the name changed from 'State' to 'China'? If not, is this an indication that the message does not, in fact, have official support from the tax department?
And why are McDonalds and KFC being targeted? Because they're nice, big, fat, juicy foreign targets? The rather emotive language ("plundering", indeed!) would suggest so.
Now, it's my understanding that McDonalds operates on a franchise basis. That means that your friendly, local, tax-dodging McDonalds is not actually foreign-owned. The person dodging the taxes is Chinese. And if the remedy is as simple as demanding receipts, then that suggests to me that the problem is, in fact, local.
Lastly: Doesn't every small business do this? Why pick on two big foreign brands (especially when the people doing the tax dodging are most likely Chinese) when it's common knowledge that pretty much every restaurant, privately-owned store, taxi driver..... whoever, is probably doing the same thing- paying taxes only according to the receipts issued. So we should all demand receipts everywhere.
Anyway, I have no idea how much truth there is to this accusation, but there's a lot in it that has alarm bells ringing, and they're not the "Run and smash up the local McDonalds" alarm bells. This smells too much like the work of ill-informed, ignorant, self-styled patriots. You know, the kind that insist that there's some giant foreign conspiracy to hold China down and abuse her people (like the Shanxi slave case, right?).
Anyway, I can think of plenty of good reasons to boycott McDonalds and KFC and others of their ilk, and I can't say I'll be shedding any tears if Chinese franchise holders suddenly find themselves having to report more income and pay more tax. But I would've appreciated this message lzh passed on a lot more if it took a more rational, realistic approach.