September 12 is Mid-Autumn Festival here in China. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together.
Mooncakes are round pastries, with a very rich and dense filling traditionally of lotus seed paste. Nowadays, many companies hand out mooncakes to their business associates and staff. Many restaurants and eateries have created their own distinctive mooncake specialties and there appears to be much demand for high-end style mooncakes in a variety of flavours. Prices vary from00 RMB for 16 mooncakes up to 10 times as much, depending on the contents and the packaging.
Yesterday we read about the mooncake tax which in which the mooncakes given by a company to its staff members – usually as a gesture of goodwill – will now be considered a non-cash benefit and subject to income tax.
Needless to say this has left a sour taste in the mouths of many Chinese workers in the run up to Mid-Autumn Festival.