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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 06:30 GMT 07:30 UK
Corruption fears over China mooncakes
By Louisa Lim
BBC, Beijing

Mooncakes baking in Taiwan, 17/09/04
Mooncakes are a mid-autumn treat
As China celebrates mid-autumn festival on Tuesday, the traditional mooncake snack risks becoming a tool of bribery.

With ever more luxurious mooncakes hitting the shelves, newspapers have been calling mooncake-giving a hotbed of corruption.

For centuries, Chinese have exchanged mooncakes to celebrate the mid-autumn festival.

But in the brash, go-getting new China, these heavy, sweet pastries are taking on a new function.

They are becoming a way to pass on bribes.

Mooncake gift sets are ever more extravagant, containing French wines, pearls and whisky, among other things.

This year, one company is even offering a mooncake set including a digital camera, a video camera, alcohol, a pen, a lighter and a 100 sq-m flat - for $40,000.

These mooncake gift sets are being seen as a handy way to navigate around government anti-graft campaigns.

Newspapers are expressing concern that the traditional practice of gift-giving has become corrupted.

One survey even shows that 70% of people think the government should set rules on mooncake packages.

But the trend is good news for mooncake makers, who are expecting sales of more than $1bn this year.

China's graft: Tough talk, old message
27 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Hong Kong's mooncake makers
11 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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