CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (12/20/2019 Fri.)

CHINA

Podcast: Story in the Story (12/20/2019 Fri.)

People's Daily app

01:51, December 20, 2019

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From the People's Daily App.

This is Story in the Story.

Marriage is becoming the go-to method for people living in Beijing eager for a car. 

People in the capital are faking marriages to get a local license plate, similar to homebuyers who have done the same to avoid high mortgage rates and taxes.

Beijing reduced the number of yearly new license plates available to registered drivers from 150,000 to 100,000 in 2018. 

This year, 38,000 among the 100,000 plates are for gasoline cars, and 54,000 are for new energy vehicles (NEV).

In April, the average chance to get a license plate for gasoline cars through the lottery system was 1 in 2,462. 

Meanwhile, 430,656 applicants are waiting for an NEV plate, which means that newcomers have to wait at least eight years.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at how car owners in Beijing are entering into fake marriages just to get a license plate for their automobile.

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(Photo: VCG)

"Many of my friends got their plates this way," a man surnamed Liu said. 

After failing to apply for a license plate in Beijing for three years, Liu posted an offer online to pay for a sham marriage with a girl who already had a license plate.

It is the only way for a wannabe car-buyer to get ownership of the plate if one tries to avoid the indefinite years of waiting through a monthly lottery system the city introduced in 2011 to allocate car plates.

An agency pretending to be a buyer said that prices for a fake marriage depend on buyer and plate owner's gender, hukou, and current residence. 

It costs $26,000 dollars for a man who does not have Beijing hukou to marry a Beijing woman and get ownership of the latter's license plate through a legal transfer. 

The process can be done in 10 to 15 days, the agency said. 

The time depends on how soon authorities approve the transfer, which is usually 15 days. 

The fake couple can get a divorce as soon as the buyer receives ownership of the car plate, promising that they would ask the two sides to sign a contract to protect their interests, including their property and debt claims, as well as to avoid the situation where one side refuses to divorce.

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An electric vehicle runs on a road in Beijing. (Photo: VCG)

Xu Hao, a lawyer in Beijing, warned this kind of contract might be considered void by authorities as their purpose is illegal. 

Xu said that a fake marriage can be dangerous as one might be sexually assaulted by his or her spouse, who he or she does not know at all. 

China still does not have a law against marital rape, according to Xu.

People can also rent or become a shareholder of a Beijing company to get a plate. 

But a fake marriage is the most cost-effective way and is chosen by more than 90 percent of clients, media reported. 

It costs about 10,000 yuan to rent a plate for one year.

Nearly 390,000 applicants will be asking for a license plate and those newly enrolled in the lottery system may need to wait as long as eight years if only 54,000 license plates are allotted annually. 

On the other hand, the number of gasoline-powered cars has exceeded 3.1 million. That means the competition to win the lottery has become more intense since only 40,000 will be allotted this year via six sessions.

For 2019, the annual car license quota in Beijing is 100,000, the same as last year. 

The new energy vehicle quota is 60,000, while the rest is for gasoline-powered cars, according to data released previously by the city's transport commission.

The capital introduced the license plate lottery system in 2011 to curb the rapid growth of automobiles, among measures in recent years to control deteriorated air quality.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Lance Crayon, Brian Lowe, and Chelle Wenqian Zeng. Music by bensound.com. Text from Global Times and China Daily.) 


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