East Asia Watch

The politics of reviving China's street vendor economy

Premier Li Keqiang's unusual plan has drawn a mixed response but is more a plaster than a proxy power play

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Coming from a poor peasant family in China's northern province of Hebei, Cui Yingjie scraped a living in Beijing working the graveyard shift as a security guard. During the daytime, he roasted sausages on a portable stove mounted on his tricycle for sale.

Between his two jobs as security guard and street vendor, he did not have much sleep while earning a pittance. Much of what he earned went to his parents to help repay debts the family had incurred from his 53-year-old mother's medical bill for heart problems.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2020, with the headline The politics of reviving China's street vendor economy. Subscribe