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    Half Tones

    To Boost Economy, China Considers Welcoming Back Street Vendors

    May 26, 20200

    A delegate from China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress, is pushing for relaxed controls on street vendors that would grant them basic legal status, as well as standardization of the often-unregulated sector, according to an affiliated platform of the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

    The motion, put forward by delegate Yang Baoling at the ongoing annual meetings of China’s top legislative and political advisory bodies, calls for cities to improve vendors’ livelihoods by legalizing and standardizing the informal industry, thereby “unleashing (its) maximum potential.”

    While the State Council, China’s Cabinet, has authorized unlicensed street vendors to operate in designated areas since 2017, there have been growing calls online for the current restrictions to be relaxed — especially if street vendors might help invigorate local economies battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Some cities have already taken strides in this direction. In March, the southwestern metropolis of Chengdu became one of the first cities in China to openly encourage street vendors after the pandemic by essentiallypromising to turn a blind eye to businesses operating without permits. Authorities said the relaxed enforcement created more than 80,000 jobs. (Image: IC)