Almost all shops in a Chinese city have closed business following rumours of a clampdown on counterfeit products, the Daily Mail reported.
Officials in Shenyang city are now begging store owners to reopen after 95 percent of shops remain closed.
The online rumour sparked fears that the local council needed to get more revenue and had ordered taxmen to come down hard on shop owners.
But local officials have denied the story and appealed for store owners to reopen after they were flooded with complaints from residents who could no longer find shops open.
Shop closures had started July 13 and spread as more rumours spread about the supposed fines, the Mail Friday quoted The Southern Metropolis Daily.
Shopkeepers questioned by local media said they would rather close their doors than lose money.
Residents in Shenyang have posted tens of thousands of angry entries on Chinese microblog Sina Weibo as well as photos of closed shops.