A manicure shop in a small Chinese town in southern China is being condemned by a local politician, who said the establishment was an example of “Chinese culture” that was spreading throughout the country.
The comments by Wu Zetian, a legislator from the city of Wuhan, come as the Chinese government has made efforts to crack down on such activities.
The Chinese government, for its part, has called on businesses and residents to be more vigilant against the spread of so-called “Chinese” culture, which has been blamed for many social problems in China, including a rise in suicides.
“They are taking Chinese culture to other parts of the world,” Wu said, adding that “Chinese people do not care about such things.”
In a separate interview with China’s official news agency Xinhua, Wu said that a shop called Lush Beauty Store was being operated by an individual in the town, who “wants to spread the Chinese culture.”
He added that the shop had “taken advantage of a situation of weakness” in the local community, which had been suffering a severe shortage of traditional Chinese medicines, including acupuncture, to “rein in” the local population.
He went on to say that the local authorities had been trying to restrict the activities of Lush, but were not succeeding.
“We have not succeeded in stopping it,” he said.
Lush has been shut down since January, Xinhua reported.
The shop, which sells only cosmetic products, was founded in 2003 by Zhang Zhijun, who had previously worked at a hair salon in Wuhang, an industrial town of some 200,000 people in southwest China.
In 2006, Zhang was arrested by the local police and charged with defaming the local government and inciting subversion, the local Xinhua news agency reported.
Zhang was released in 2010.
The store’s owner, a retired police officer surnamed Zhao, said the shop was being run by a “foreign agent” and that his business was “illegal” under Chinese law.
“Lush has never harmed the local people and has been running the shop illegally since 2006,” Zhao told the AP.
Zhao told local news outlets that he has no intention of running a second shop.
“I’m not a greedy person, but I think the country is facing a crisis,” he told local media.
“The local government has no other choice but to close the shop.”
The local police chief said in a statement that the police had arrested Zhang and were investigating the matter.
“There are no other explanations, and we have no intention to reopen the shop,” he wrote.
“At the moment, we are looking into the matter.”
The statement also included a link to a local newspaper article that said the police were investigating Zhang for “defaming the authorities and inciting terrorism.”
Xinhua quoted Zhao as saying that he had received death threats from the local public after he opened the shop, but that he was “very thankful” for the “positive reaction” from the Chinese public.