Lucky Beijing License Plate Winners To Be Punished Severely

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
lucky beijing license plate winners to be punished severely

Beijingers who are lucky enough to win the license plate lottery may be punished severely – if they don’t buy a car. In the beginning of the year, China’s capital instated a rule by which new car owners must enter a lottery for a license plate. Only 17,600 plates are available per month. In the latest draw, some 530,000 people did compete for the 17,600 plates. Only one out of 30 applicants could win. And what are the lucky winners doing? Most of them do nothing. In April, only 3,700 exercised their hard-won right and bought a car. At least that’s up from 2,000 in January. Now, the city is thinking about meting out harsh punishment.

At, the website where the carless Beijinger applies for a lottery ticket to ride, the city solicits public opinion about possible penalties for people who win, but don’t buy. (If you go to the site, many security services will warn you that it contains spyware – just take my word for it. It’s in Chinese anyway.)

One option is to keep the current policy. Currently, if the right is not used within six months, it is forfeited, but the prospective car owner can re-apply. Good luck. Another choice is to bar them from applying for a year. The third option is no lucky draw for two years.

Doing away with the lottery is not on the menu. Neither is transferring the right, which would create a frenzy of a market.

According to China Daily, “Beijing’s auto market has stagnated since car restriction regulations took effect.” Stagnated? Collapsed would be the appropriate word. A total of 71,900 cars were sold in the first four months of this year in the city, a 62 percent drop compared with the same period last year.

Last year, between 700,000 and 890,000 cars changed hands in Beijing, nobody knows for sure. Beijing’s population is 19.6 million. As of April, there were 4.9 million registered vehicles in the capital.

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  • GS650G GS650G on Jun 06, 2011

    It sounds like the lottery is no longer needed. market forces took care of the car buying problem. But there are limits to the PLA acceptance of capitalism. After all, the right to own a car has GOT to be regulated and once granted it's insulting not to exercise it. Especially when new car sales are tanking and that hurts the government in other subtle ways.

    • See 2 previous
    • Wsn Wsn on Jun 06, 2011

      @cole Depending on who you ask. If you are mid-aged, married, and have a nice apartment close to a subway station, you really don't need a car there. But if you are a single man that can afford a car, any car, it will greatly help you get laid. Something cute like TT or Z4 can let you literally pick whoever you want to f*ck tonight. P.S. The above statement holds true for Chinese men. If you are an OK looking Caucasian man, you don't even need that TT.

  • TonyJZX TonyJZX on Jun 06, 2011

    I find it ironic that in the west where cars have never been cheaper to buy that people just don't want car ownership any more... rising cost of ownership and oppressive govt. is putting paid to that and kids seem to want iphones don't they? this has been a popular topic on TTAC in the past... phones. vs cars getting kids to buy cars etc. And yet there is that pull in the old kingdom...

    • Wsn Wsn on Jun 06, 2011

      Please see my previous comment. Car ownership is attractive in China, because not everyone can afford it (thus causing the guy with a car to get more girls than the guy who doesn't). In the US, a car simply doesn't have that appeal any more. Just look at Weiner or Schwarzenegger. Man, their Chinese counterparts must pity them a lot.

  • Probert Sorry to disappoint: any list. of articles with a 1 second google search. It's a tough world out there - but you can do it!!!!!!
  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.