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Interactions Between Chengguan and Street Vendors in Beijing

How the unpopularity of an administration affects relations with the public
Emmanuel Caron
Translated by Will Thornely
p. 17-28


Despite the existence of an administration – the chengguan – one of whose main roles is to control illegal street vendors, the latter are still very numerous in Beijing. This paradox can be partly explained by a form of tolerance on the part of the chengguan in response to the public resistance to their actions, which is linked to the conflictive nature of their relationship with the street vendors. This tolerance appears to be erratic, but is actually based on recurrent distinctions made by this administration. However, the informal, revocable, and ultimately unpredictable character of the control exercised by the chengguan has resulted in a continuation of the conflictive nature of their interactions with street vendors.

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Electronic reference

Emmanuel Caron, « Interactions Between Chengguan and Street Vendors in Beijing », China Perspectives [Online], 2013/1 | 2013, document 2, Online since 01 March 2016, connection on 27 May 2017. URL :

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About the author

Emmanuel Caron

Emmanuel Caron is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the EHESS-CECMC (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences – Research Center on Modern and Contemporary China).

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