Protecting the wrong leads to more misdeeds

Updated: 2016-02-19 07:18

(China Daily)

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Protecting the wrong leads to more misdeeds

The restaurant has been shut down. Photo taken on Oct 7, 2015. [Photo/IC]

Harbin investigators have shot themselves in the foot by contradicting themselves.

After their probe into claims by a tourist that he was ripped off by a restaurant in the city, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, which he said overcharged him for the fish he and his relatives consumed during Spring Festival, the local government investigators initially claimed that the restaurant was not in the wrong.

It was the investigations conducted by reporters that have pushed the government investigators into revealing the truth of the scandal.

Now the restaurant has been closed for operating with an expired license and cheating customers with cultivated fish it claimed were wild ones.

The local government's admission of lack of supervision over the illegal practice has added to the drama.

That more consumers have complained about how they were ripped off at the same restaurant has, to some extent, put the local government in an embarrassing situation, as it has clearly been turning a blind eye to the restaurant's wrongdoings, and presumably that of others.

What this event has exposed is not just the cheating of restaurants, but also the local government's lack of awareness of what is required for a sustainable tourist industry.

Rather than immediately conducting a thorough and impartial investigation into the tourist's claims and cracking down on the problematic eatery for the wrong-doings it uncovered, the local government tried to protect the fish restaurant and failed to take action until the pressure of public of opinion made it impossible for it to maintain its stance.

If it was just a couple of heartless restaurant owners trying every conceivable means to make quick and easy money it would not be so bad. But it is clear the local government has failed to recognize the importance of maintaining a fair environment for the healthy development of the city's tourism market.

When a local government is too lazy to exert proper supervision over the operation of the market, it risks its reputation being ruined by just a couple of bad apples.

Similar scandals emerge almost every year, along with similar mistakes by local governments that only make things worse.

The protection of local interest is understandable, but if the protection is used to protect such misdeeds it will only hurt local interests instead.