Beijing authorities have announced a crackdown on illegal outdoor advertising.
Fly posters and large billboard ads have proliferated along the capital's teeming roads on lampposts, telegraph poles and other street furniture.
The Beijing Municipal Administration Commission issued a notice on Sunday ordering those companies responsible to remove illegal advertising within three days or face stiff penalties.
The new regulation also orders government organizations to make known their outdoor advertisement plans by December 15. Illegal ads will be demolished if they are not sanctioned.
Individuals and companies who refuse to comply will face a fine of up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,200).
While some say advertisements are harmless, others see them as tawdry and tasteless. The Shanghai municipal government has also launched a fight against billboards in a bid to cut "visual pollution" in the city.
Beijing is divided into areas where outdoor advertisements are strictly forbidden and areas where only certain advertisements are allowed.
Specifically, outdoor advertising is forbidden around Tian'anmen Square, Communist Party of China and government buildings, foreign embassies, schools, scenic spots, cultural heritage sites and at interchanges or overpasses.
Buses and cars carrying advertisements are not allowed to pass through Tian'anmen Square or on several surrounding streets.
The Beijing Municipal Administration Commission is in charge of bidding for advertising space on expressways, ring roads, capital airport, railway stations and economic development zones.
Last month, two-year rights for 29 billboards along the east section of the Fifth Ring Road and the Beijing-Chengde Expressway boosted municipal revenue by 26.5 million yuan (US$3.2 million).
(China Daily December 13, 2004)