Beijing restaurant owner buys flies to help clean up city

BEIJING: Retired restaurateur Guo Zhanqi is buying flies for two yuan ($0.259) apiece to help clean up Beijing for next year’s Olympics, local media reported yesterday. 

Echoing Mao Zedong’s campaign against the “Four Harms” in the 1950s, Zhanqi can be found outside the city’s Chaoyang Park doling out his savings to anybody who hands over a dead fly. 

“There were always a mass of flies around the entrance to my restaurant, and no fewer inside,” the 60-year-old told Beijing Youth Daily. “It was extremely disgusting.” 

Beijing city authorities have instituted campaigns against spitting, littering and queue-jumping in order to improve the environment in the Chinese capital before the Olympics. Zhanqi wants to add his campaign to the list. 

“Buying flies is not my ultimate purpose,” he told the paper. “I want everybody to start killing flies.” 

Mao launched the “Four Harms” campaign to get rid of pests during the Great Leap Forward with citizens instructed to kill flies, mosquitoes, rats and sparrows. 

Zhanqi has reworked Beijing’s Olympic bid slogan to advertise his free market twist on Mao’s campaign. “No flies, new Beijing. No flies, great Olympics.” – Reuters 

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