China / Society

Guangdong law would legalize street vendors

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2014-07-15 07:18

The Guangdong Provincial People's Congress is soliciting the public's opinion on a proposed draft law that would legalize the businesses of the province's street vendors.

According to a draft of the Guangdong Management Rules on Food Processing Workshops and Mobile Vendors, street vendors will be allowed to sell their foods and products in specified areas and times.

If the draft is passed, street vendors must apply for a registration card with a township-level government or neighborhood committee before starting their business. The registration card will be valid for a year and can be renewed for free.

The draft restricts vendors to designated areas and specific business hours. If passed, the draft will benefit more than 800,000 street vendors who are currently working in the province and will be the first time that Guangdong has legalized the businesses of street vendors.

Dou Yong, an officer from the Guangzhou Urban Management Law Enforcement Bureau, said the draft would make it easier for urban patrol officers, or chengguan,to enforce the law and would likely cut down on the number of confrontations between chengguan and street vendors. Chengguan are mostly responsible for ensuring the legal use of public spaces.

Guangdong law would legalize street vendors

"It will be good news for both chengguan and mobile vendors when the draft is passed," he said.

Dou said the draft will help make the city's chengguan operation more transparent. In recent years, there has been a growing number of conflicts between chengguan and street vendors.

Peng Peng, a senior researcher with the Guangzhou Academy of Social Science, said the draft will help improve how mobile vendors are managed and should standardize their operations.

"But chengguan will still have to introduce more people-oriented measures to reduce the number of disputes between chengguan and street vendors," he said.

Chen Yingqiang, a local street vendor, said the draft will help protect the legal interest of the mobile vendors.

"When we do business in the government-designated places and times, we will not have to be afraid of chengguan in the future," said Chen, who sells breakfast foods in Guangzhou's Baiyun district.

Street vendors will not have to apply for business licenses from local administrations to conduct their business in the designated places and times, which will cut down on costs, Chen added.

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