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Shine a light: Chinese police crack down on headlight misuse

© AFP/File | A car through a cross road in Beijing on August 5, 2014A car through a cross road in Beijing on August 5, 2014

Using the age-old reasoning of making the punishment fit the crime, police in a sprawling Chinese metropolis are making drivers who inappropriately flash their bright lights suffer the same agony.

In a post on their official account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, traffic police in the southern city of Shenzhen said that violators were being made to look at bright headlights for five minutes.

The post described it as an "appropriate experience" that would make offenders "sense the harm" such use of their headlights could cause.

"From now on, traffic police will make those found carelessly using bright lights to look at them for five minutes," said the post, dated Tuesday.

Violators also have to listen to a police explanation on properly using headlights and pay a fine of 300 yuan ($49), the post said.

It included a photo of a man sitting on a red plastic stool looking into the bright lights of what appeared to be a police vehicle with a uniformed officer standing nearby.

Automobile use has boomed in China along with the country's rapid economic growth, which has vaulted it to become the world's second-largest economy and the globe's biggest car market.

Auto sales accelerated in July, growing 6.7 percent to 1.62 million vehicles, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday.

For the first seven months of 2014, sales reached 13.30 million vehicles, up 8.2 percent on the same period last year, the industry group said.

China's full-year auto sales hit 21.98 million vehicles last year.