From the archive, originally posted by: [ mmm ]

Entrepreneur sues over deflated air-for-sale scheme

BEIJING, China (Reuters) — A Chinese entrepreneur is suing a Beijing trade bureau for denying him a permit to sell bags of “World Cup air” and for scotching his plans to bottle and sell “2008 Olympic air,” a newspaper said on Thursday. Li Jie, who describes himself as chief executive of the Lunar Embassy to China and once tried to sell land on the moon, sought a permit to sell “World Cup air” for 50 yuan ($6.30) a bag to soccer enthusiasts unable to make the trip to Germany this year. His idea was that fans could hang the green plastic bag around their necks and breathe in the air while watching World Cup matches on television, local media reported.

But the Chaoyang Industry and Commerce Bureau had rejected his application on the grounds that “special air from special places” was not classified as “an industrial category,” the Beijing News said. In court, Li dismissed the assertion that the concept of selling air was unclear and accused the bureau of denying him a “once every four years” sales opportunity. “The ‘special air from special places’ I am talking about includes the Olympics, Tiananmen Square, Mount Everest … the moon, a pigsty, a horse paddock, a sheep pen — even Chaoyang District No. 3 Court,” Li said. Beijing hosts the 2008 Summer Olympics.

As evidence, Li produced “Little Fox Sells Air” — a story in a primary school text book about a cunning fox that opens an air-selling business in a polluted city and “does good business”, the paper said. “A textbook could not possibly advocate breaking the law, could it?” Li asked the court. The case continues.