It started gaining traction last month when China’s Premier Li Keqiang, the second-highest ranking official in China after President Xi Jinping, praised Chengdu City To create 100,000 jobs overnight by setting up thousands of street stalls that usually sell food, fresh vegetables, clothes and toys.
Push for tech
The idea of vendors moving to the streets of high-tech metropolis like Shanghai and Shenzhen has caused controversy in China, as Beijing has spent years developing the country’s image as a sophisticated global superpower. Of Xi The signature policy project, “Made in China 2025”, pushes the country to compete with the United States for influence through billions of dollars’ worth of investment in future technologies.
“Street hawking is a dislike for Ziki because it disrupts the image of a successful and beautiful China he likes to project,” said Professor Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
Xi reiterated his long-standing efforts to find high-tech solutions to China’s economic woes. He recently called for investment in 5G networks and next-generation satellites as part of a plan to boost economic growth and employment.
A harsh political reality
In addition, he said, Beijing may not be as effective at creating large and expensive infrastructure projects as a way to address its financial woes.
The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 – China’s response to the last economic shock – massive investment in roads, airports and high-speed rail lines. This time, that stimulus line is already saturated.
“The past financial crisis has also left China with a lot of debt. This time it is important for the country to focus on private consumption,” he said.
Chinese government adviser Tang Min recently told reporters in Beijing that street hawking would not only create jobs but also address public concerns about the ongoing pandemic.
“But this cannot replace the ‘regular’ economy – the selling or buying of the streets is very limited,” Tang said. “The government will not allow this to be checked – we must control it as we continue to experiment and explore this option.”
At May’s annual political conference, Li was indifferent to China’s problems and how some of the country’s high-tech future might not be involved. About 600 million Chinese – 40% of the population – earn an average of just 1,000 yuan (1 141) per month.
“Li is trying to solve problems that hit a … realistic approach,” Said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Center for China Studies. He said the street vendors’ approach may not be perfect and there may not be a better alternative to creating more jobs in a short time.
“Employment is the most important thing that triggers political upheaval … Li is clearly concerned about the disastrous outcome of the massive job losses.”
Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute, said Li was trying to do his job of overseeing the country’s key economic policies.
“As a result of the pandemic, he was allowed to play the premier’s well-established role in driving the economy, from which he spent much of his time in the Ji era,” Song said. “He has seen how a more practical and more proactive approach to the economic impact of Kovid-19 is needed, thus enabling and encouraging street sales for those affected by the pandemic.”
Local governments have gone ahead
Li’s public debate for street vendors in China has waned in recent days, as major cities – including Beijing and Shenzhen – have made it clear that this policy is not welcomed there.
“Street stalls are actually completely invisible,” said Lam, a professor at the University of Hong Kong. He hoped local governments would come up with this plan as long as unemployment remains a major concern.