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Trial System to License Guangdong Street Peddlers Will Make Street Food “Safer”

Posted: 04/9/2014 5:28 pm

Outside of a cab and walking the streets of Guangzhou or Shenzhen, you may have come across the alluring aromas of street food sold by your friendly neighborhood peddler or hawker. From the crackle of hot oil that promises a satisfying crunch, you are sorely tempted to partake in roadside deliciousness, but decide instead to decline. After all, how can you be sure that these streetside peddlers are safe to eat from?

Now, you can. The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) released a statement on April 8 that they will be looking to start a trial system of providing licenses to street peddlers and hawkers, China News reports. This move is seen as timely since Guangzhou has recently been promoting its car-free pedestrian zone that is well-populated with peddlers trying to sell you things you did not know you need to buy.

However, the term “licensed” does not necessarily refer to adhering to health regulations. The big news for these peddlers and hawkers is that they will be “safe” from the harassment of the chengguan, the practical administration of city bylaws that has all of the bullying from an authoritative force, but none of the responsibility. Basically, it’s the Miller Lite of police brutality.

Certification with a license would mean that local chengguan would recognize the legitimacy of the peddler’s business rather than try to forcibly remove them from the area. Chengguan have a bad reputation in China for using physical force to intimidate hawkers and street peddlers. Just today, news reports tell of a 70 year-old man who died during a confrontation with chengguan in Mawei, Fuzhou when he tried to mediate a compromise.

CPPCC representative Yang Ke sympathized with the plight of peddlers, and acknowledged that peddlers don’t see themselves as committing criminal acts that require the chengguan to police, but are rather just trying to make a living. Yang proposed a system similar to that of Manhattan, New York where streets are cordoned off on weekends to allow for street markets populated by many street peddlers, but with nary a chengguan in sight.

Roadside gourmands will be able to take their time, savor their food, and eat their street meat, “safe” from any chengguan interruptions.

Photo: China News


Foreigner in Shenzhen heading to jail… for driving without a license

Posted: 11/19/2013 10:00 am

After being stopped by police, image courtesy of Sina Weibo

It’s common for foreigners in China to drive a car or motorcycle without a license, but a few will probably be questioning their decision after a New Zealander was jailed for 15 days for failing to have the proper documents.

The law is quite strict and gives police the authority to detain those driving without a license, but they do have discretion. Many foreigners have been let off the hook because police can’t be bothered to get translators and processing them is just too ma fan.

This particular foreigner wasn’t so lucky. He was caught by traffic police in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District on Friday (Nov. 15) riding a motorcycle without a license, Shenzhen Traffic Police reported on their microblog.

According to the cops, after the man was stopped on Taizi (Prince Edward) Road, he was found to only possess a C1 driving license, which does not enable him to ride a motorcycle.

Explaining himself to the cops, image courtesy of Sina Weibo

Despite him being detained, 15 days in the clink won’t make him among the Pearl River Delta’s more long-term prisoners.  However, even if he had had a license, the vehicle itself may have been illegal as Shenzhen has been cracking down on the use of e-bikes for several years.

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