China´s Covid slump prompts return of disparaged street vendors to boost economy

Business 2020/6/4

China´s Covid slump prompts return of disparaged street vendors to boost economy

Vendors sell vegetable on the streets of Beijing - AP

They were only recently regarded by the Chinese authorities as a scourge on the well-ordered landscape of their brave new world. 

But now the Communist Party is praising the country’s street vendors as one of the solutions to the economic slowdown sparked by China’s deadly coronavirus pandemic.

After years of cracking down on street vendors in order to ´beautify´ its cities and improve hygiene standards, China is now allowing them back to give its Covid-ravaged economy a boost.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang gave them his blessing when he recently praised the city of Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, for apparently generating 100,000 jobs overnight by allowing 36,000 street vendors to set up shop.

Signalling a more tolerant attitude to the hustle and bustle of street stalls and markets, China´s Central Civilization Committee office has said it will not include vendors who occupy outdoor spaces or other public areas in its city assessment program for 2020, indicating a temporary relaxation on the management of the sector.

At the same time a delegate from China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress, called for the relaxation of controls on street vendors to grant them legal status.

It came after local government officials appeared to

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