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Jail Sentence for Tour Guide May Put a Halt to Forced Shopping Stops

The tourism industry needs to be straightened out, but tourists should also avoid trips that are too good to be true

By Zhang Qingchen Updated Jun.13

If tour guides force tourists to engage in shopping and the case is serious, they can be sentenced to jail, which may force other tourism companies to correct their behavior, said commentator Ren Ran, writing in news portal The Paper.   

On June 10, Li Yun was sentenced to six months in prison and fined 2,000 yuan (US$313) for forcing tourists to shop, according to a court in Jinghong, Southwest China's Yunnan Province. If his clients refused to buy items during trips, Li cursed them and refused to give them their room keys.   

Article 226 of China's Criminal Law stipulates that if someone uses violent or threatening methods to force others to buy items or accept services, and if the case is serious, they can be sentenced to up to three years in jail and fined, and the sentence can be up to seven years if the amounts involved are higher. 

Ren noted that Li's sentence is a good start to straighten out irregularities in the tourism market. Compulsory shopping stops are common in the domestic tourism market, and clients are also made to swallow insults and humiliation.   
But tourists should be wary of low-priced tours, since these are below the average market price and must involve other ways to make up the loss, such as forced shopping stops.