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My country and my people (I)

January 4, 2012

China is definitely rising, both the good and bad side of it.

There are lots of things in China to say about or critize. Lots of people are engaging in the business.  Some are oversimplifying. I wanna speak out. I am one of the free spirits from mainland China. Non party member. Not always against my government. Be proud of my culture and people.

Where shall I start?

No way better than randomly picking up a topic that occurs to me this moment.

I just watched an investigative news report about street food vendors. Let me say something about the thing.

If you have been to China,  you would have noticed these people selling food on street. Usually simple take-away breakfast. They are mostly farmers migrated to cities seeking a future but had no other way to earn their living than serving street food which required almost no training, education.

In the morning rushing hour, office ladies or men take their breakfast from these vendors, which saves them the trouble of cooking in early morning. Thinking of a great amount of people working in Beijing or Shanghai, spend more than two hours on their way to work. These people can not afford another half an hour to cook for themselves in mornign. The street food is daily necessity for them.

The problem is these vendors are not licensed. The food they serve  is usually dirty, not eatable.  people in the rush driven by hunger do not think before they take it.  They would stop doing so until one day it caused them sick, the probability is relatively low.  Therefore the industry flourishes.

Another negative side is that these vendors easily worsen the traffic in large city like beijing 0r Shanghai. They usually occupy the bicycle lane, won’t move unless forced by police. Besides, they creates a messy street, which is contradictory with the clean and harmoniouos city some people expected.

To get rid of these negative things. A special industry emerges. Let me call the people in it, street watchdogs, with nice intention. (Watchdog is highly postive in journalism my former major.). These people are hired by the government. They are formal employees, which means they are paid by the central government, enjoying health insurance etc, which are previlege of the few in China. They aim to drive away the vendors if they  take up area that they are supposed not to, if their food looks terrible,etc. These are vague conditions. Actually it is hard to decide when should these watchdogs act. Consequentially, some street watchdogs taking advantage of their position plunder street food vendors. The image was casted on TV often. People in uniforms were driving people in rags on street. The image was impressive. ” That was how poor people are treated by their government”.

There are  stories untold. The street watchdogs are themselves poor people in China. I mentioned they enjoy all kinds of insurances privileged by few in China. However Their salary is low, about 2000 Rmb yuan , for a street watch dog working in most prosperious area in Beijing. If they are not local, for instance in Beijing,rent of one room in even the relatively remote area will take up more than half of their salary. The people who creat their jobs, the street vendors, earn at least twice as much. But they had no health insurance as self-employed people.

There are some facts.

Food served by the street vendors is terrible. A restaurant serving food of a same quality should without any doubt be shut down. All will agree with that.

They are people trying to improve their lives, coming to cities. But have no other way than serving food on street.

A question arises.

Should poor people subject to same laws as the average?

Yes. That is what a law is supposed to be. But in that case, we should clear all these people from the street, to require them according to the hydrien criteria that regualting restaurants.  They could be dangerous jobless in cities. It seems to have hurt no one loosening the law. Let them stay with their business, meanwhile to avoid healthy risks they posed to the public.

The government tell people not to take food on street. It is impossible to track the food served there.

How we are supposed to be regulated to do justice to all? The question is hard to answer, impossible in a society like China. An ideal legal system should put all of us in a balance. The benefits we receive from others should balance that we are to offer. For these street vendeors, they are disadvantaged for long. The price of agricultural products are extremely low in China. Their Children are disadvantaged in education. The result of these is poor people get poor offsprings, if they stay where they are born.  Can we require such people to pay as much obligation to the society as we do?  I am not saying that poor people could do whatever they want. There are some univeral moral standard that all should live on. I just want to bring out one instance of the complexity of China, which is not recognizable from the media of the states.

Then why not raise the price of agricultural products, so that the farmers can have better living?

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