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When the ‘mice’ come out to play

Street vendors are a common sight in Shanghai. Many of them are migrant workers from rural villages. They often sell fruit, small commodities and snacks such as barbecued meats, fried noodles, popcorn and Chinese pancakes.

With simple carts, they make a living regardless of the weather. Many don’t earn much money and lead a difficult life. Vending is considered one of the 10 toughest jobs in China.

However, people in big cities are quick to criticize street vendors as most leave behind a big mess and they are also considered disorderly. To keep the city clean and tidy, chengguan, urban management officials, are tasked with clearing out street vendors. The relationship between vendors and chengguan is described as “the cat chasing a mouse.”

When chengguan are off duty at night, vendors thrive around the city. They are common around Lujiazui, the Bund and Nanjing Road. Shanghai Daily documents some street venders operating around the city.

A vendor from Jiangxi Province sells fruit on the north side of the Waibaidu Bridge while a couple takes wedding photos in the background.

A fruit vendor from Henan Province waits for customers with his daughter at the truck-turned-stall on Beisuzhouhe Road.

A street vendor sells barbecued meats to people on Nanjing Road E.

A fruit vendor from Anhui Province watches for chengguan, urban management officials, on Guangyuan Road.

A woman makes Chinese pancakes for the passers-by in Lujiazui. The Shanghai World Financial Center, Jin Mao Tower and the unfinished Shanghai Tower (L-R) are in the background.

All photos by Wang Rongjiang

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