In order to combat the threat of disease spread by currency, the Central Bank has set up banknote-treatment centers in a number of cities across the country, including Chengdu.
The locations and operations of these centers is top-secret.
Apart from destroying counterfeit bills and genuine notes that have been worn out during circulation, the main purpose of the banknote-treatment center is conducting regular "money washings" (to eliminate odors, dust, and bacteria) and return the cleaned bills to circulation. It's not uncommon to see people moistening their finger on their tongue before they count money. This type of habit increases the number of bacteria on the bills in circulation, which are already diverse and include the dysentary bacteria, E. coli, and more. Each bill on average carries over 20 types of bacteria and 9 million specimens. Lower-denomination notes such as 5-jiao, 1-yuan, and 1-jiao bills each carry on average 18 million specimens!
The "money-laundering" machines are operated by workers donning surgeon's masks. Each bill passes through a sensor before entering the machine, where counterfeit and decayed bills are removed, the rest counted and bundled, and finally sterilized. The machines can process 1,000 bills per minute.
A related QQ poll asks
"What do you usually do if you receive a destroyed banknote?"
4,059 said "Angrily throw it away!"
6,381 said "Discretely try to spend it..."
10,968 said "Go to the bank and exchange it"
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