Hong Kong has a long history of Hawker (vendors) that could be traced back over a century. The Environmental Hygiene Administration Division is responsible for the general management of Hawker. As you can see, the following picture shows the governmental structure:
According to the official website of Hawker Control (http://www.fehd.gov.hk/english/pleasant_environment/hawker/overview.html), hawker license has a limited resource because the regulatory department suspended licensing since 1970. Although the department opened licensing application sometime in recent years, but overall the limitation on the amount of Hawker license has been very strict. In addition, the Hong Kong government has been showing a negative attitude towards Hawker, as they have stated in departmental objectives: “To reduce illegal hawking activities in streets by taking enforcement action.” Until the end of 2016,
“the number of fixed-pitch (excluding Temporary Hawker Licences) and itinerant hawker licences in the urban area were 5 278 and 201 respectively. The number of fixed-pitch (excluding Temporary Hawker Licences) and itinerant hawker licences in the New Territories were 218 and 214 respectively.”
|Total related convictions
Data Source: Hong Kong government annual report 2011-2015
Though the government has a strict licensing amount for permanent Hawker licenses, people could still apply for a temporary one which could only last for at most one month. Compared to Taipei, Hong Kong government has less requirements such as salary and employment status for the permanent license application, but because of the scare quantity of license and uncertainty of the time point when the department will freeze the application, it’s much harder to get a Hawker license in Hong Kong than a vendor permit in Taipei.
As we can see from the second chart above, there’s an increasing trend on the number of related convictions for offences within Hawkers. Those convictions include cases in which licensed Hawkers violate rules and unlicensed Hawkers do business illegally. Hong Kong has Hawker Control Team (HCT) which is affiliated to the Food and Environment Hygiene Department to regulate Hawkers in specific areas. According to the annual reports, there are 191 teams of 2100 people on duty to regulate Hawkers in different areas in Hong Kong. Different from Taipei’s regulatory actions which are more tolerant, Hong Kong is practicing the regulations in an extremely strict way. Therefore, over years, there has been conflicts between Hawkers and HCT and police department – some of which even involves violence, such as the Fishball Revolution in Jan. 2016.
In addition to the “Hawkers Regulation” 《小販規例》, HCT also refers to Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance《公眾衞生及市政條例》 (Chapter 132), Summary Offences Ordinance《簡易程序治罪條例》(Chapter 228, Section 6 Street cries for buying or selling), Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness and Obstruction) Ordinance《定額罰款(公眾地方潔淨及阻礙)條例》(Chapter 570), and Food Business Regulation《食物業規例》.
Hawker License classification:
- Fixed-pitch hawker license (Bootblack; Cooked food or light refreshment; Newspaper; Tradesman; Barber; Wall stall; and Other classes.)
- Itinerant hawker licenses
- Temporary licenses
* Hawker badges (given along with licenses, but as an identification for the hawker)
The regulation is made from the following aspects:
– specified commodities and service, time and area
– restrictions on special hawking area
– restrictions on age of applicants
– required documents for application
– requirements on license publicity
– restrictions and rules for deputies and assistant
Hong Kong regulatory departments were sparing efforts to eliminate the number of Hawkers, especially those stalls which are near the place where there’s potential fire safety issues. The government started “Assistance Scheme for Hawkers in Fixed-pitch Hawker Areas” activity to support the Hawkers with funding to improve fire safety conditions by reimburse those hawkers relocation and restructuring expenses. However, they also have practiced “buying back” the licenses from hawkers by offering “an ex-gratia payment” (120,000 HKD) to those who volunteer to return their licenses to the government. Through year 2013 till now, there are lots of relocations happening due to safety concerns.
Media Report on Social Groups Helping Hawker Night Markets in Hong Kong:
香港 vs 台北：设一个熟食夜市到底有多难？
Hong Kong VS Taipei: How hard is it to set up a cooked food night market?
Source: https://theinitium.com/article/20170131-hongkong-20170127-Bazaarhktaipei/ (Please click the link for videos and pictures)
Date: Jan. 31st, 2017
Mr. Li works for an NGO focusing on helping people with lower income. In this year, Mr. Li works with the local community to hold a temporary cooked food night market in Hong Kong, only with 14 stands and on three nights. The night market attracted lots of people to have a taste of traditional Hong Kong snacks such as fish balls, chicken feet, sweet tofu soup and etc. The NGO and many people in the community are thinking of to “reform” from the very bottom of the society – delivering their opinions to the government by real actions. For this night market event, they organized surveys and meetings and wrote plans within the community for 8 months, and then waited for the approval from 6 governmental departments for 2 months. Finally, it took them another 3 weeks to finalized the decision with parliament.
“The government doesn’t have any policy and help for supporting the actions from the very basic people of the society,” said Dacheng Li.
Xiaoli Liu, senator, who once traveled in Taipei, says that Taipei’s night market is very impressive. She thinks that food market is providing an opportunity to the grass-root class, and also a space for the voice from the basic society.
她指出，政府近年对新春夜市严厉执法，连小贩用来糊口的几天都要抺杀，才激发到公众关注小贩权益，“社会管治里，存有『Social Safety Valve』（社会安全阀）的概念，意思是不可以全权压制一些社会诉求，有少许的喘息空间，社会才安全。『大禹治水』的道理，不是去塞住通道，是以排水的方式来治水。”她说。 她提倡香港订立墟市政策，现阶段政府可成立跨部门小组，处理民间就临时墟市的申请，迎合“由下而上”的方式。
She points out that it’s the fact that Hong Kong government enforces the rules strictly on New Year period and prohibits the hawker’s business in such a special holiday that makes people look into the issue seriously. “When regulating a society, there is a notion of ‘Social Safety Valve’, which means you cannot suppress the voice from the society. You need to give them some space so that it would be safe. It’s the same as Da Yu who combats the flood in ancient time, not to plug but to lead the water into the drain,” says Liu. She advocates the government to make a policy on hawker market. For now the government can have a temporary group which combines duties from different departments to reply to the applications from communities to set up temporary markets, to satisfy the need from the basic group of people in the society.
Li is not optimistic about this proposal. He says that the government has realized the problem in 2015 and proposed to have outdoor hawker market and night market. However, it is never realized. The most the government does is to give an abstract instruction, but no clear policy provided for further development. He is now worried about the shift to the new government for next round. What has been instructed and promised now might have great change in the future. So he puts more expectations on the action from the society to try to set up more temporary markets. “I come from a hawker family. I make my life relying on the hawker market,” says Li at the market. Now he hopes other people from the society could make their life in through hawker market.
Overview on recent media report:
Media press talks about expectations the new regulation on food, which is said to include the supportive terms for street food vending business, from the positive aspect by giving several examples on how the those illegal vendors who sell “Internet-Popular” （网红）food to get the license in the past several years, which in fact does not talk directly about how the process of registration or requirements would be simplified for the vendors but speaks generally on the fact that the regulations is released.
Looking into Shanghai Ayi’s Entrepreneurship – How Street Food in Lanes get the “ID”
Source: Wenhui Newspaper (Jiefang Daily Group)
Date: Apr. 8th, 2017
Three Examples of Street Food in Lane which are called “Internet Popular” food:
- Grandma Hu’s YouDunZi
Grandma Hu used to be a cook in government canteen and started to be a street food vendor in 2001. She has to do the business for the debt that her son owed. She has been struggling with Chengguan over the years. Since Grandma Hu is 79 years old now, she would like to retire from the business once all the debt is paid back.
- Jiang Ayi YouDunZi
https://v.qq.com/x/page/d0178vx70sp.html (Interview by SMG)
Jiang Ayi is a local Shanghainese who has passion for food. She started to do YouDunZi because she wanted to present the authentic flavor to old customers. Jiang Ayi is not a typical street food vendor since she has a shop front.
- Ma Ayi Rice Dumpling
Ma Ayi Rice Dumpling has been formalized now. According to the article, Ma Ayi failed to get the license for several times due to various reasons including urban appearance and environment, fire safety issues and neighborhood relationships.
However, the article fails to explain more about the newly released regulation on food, especially on street food vending sector. Overall, though the regulation gives a solution to street food vending by introducing “备案制”, which seems to have a simplified process and requirements for registration but in fact some people argues that it is a more strict way to regulate street food vendors:
When the regulation is discussed during the 14th Shanghai People’s Congress, the 5th meeting, many delegates comment on “Street Food in Lanes”. On one hand, there are citizens’ demands for food, and on the other hand, once the stands are banned, the owners can’t make a living. “We need an innovative resolution on regulation to give the street food vending some space,” said a delegate called Xu Liping. She hopes that Shanghai government could create a regulation method that regulate different business in different categories and levels when reducing or slowing down the growth of the amount of street food vending business.
Now the regulation gives a new way: for those small food business places which could not get the license but could meet the food safety requirement and have no influence on neighborhood, local government can register them temporarily and give them a public information card for temporary permission on business.
After the regulation put into practice, local market supervision, environment, housing management, fire safety and Chengguan department should regulate small food business accordingly. “We need to regulate more strictly in and after the process, the regulation standard on those small business should be the same as on the licensed,” said the header of FDA, Yan Zuqiang. In fact, the policy has been experimented with A Da Fried Scallion Pancake. The environment of the new pancake stand has been improved a lot after its reopen with the help with regulatory department in Huangpu District.
“Even though the business follows regulations and laws, the current registration system is not a permeant solution,” said Yan Zuqiang. He is thinking about modifying the regulation in detail and set limit on years – each business can re-apply once after the temporary permission expires. After the re-application, the owner should either apply for the license or quit the market. “‘Internet-Popular’ Food should not always be in version 1.0. Hopefully we can bring out more upgraded business models with local characteristics.”
From the media report, we can see that the current registration plan for small food vending business owners is a method which gives these owners more time to prepare for the legal license. The ultimate goal of the government is to formalize those business.
Other government actions also indicate that they are trying to pushing the formalization of those food vending business. For example, the regulatory department enforce the new regulation to the illegal small food business immediately on the first when the new regulation is in practice.
The First of New Regulation on Food Safety: Look Strictly on Illegal Food Vendors and Restaurants with Borrowed Licenses
Date: Mar. 20th, 2017
Mar. 20th is the first day for the “Shanghai Food Safety Regulations” to be in practice formally. On that day, the journalist went with FDA and market regulators to see law-enforcement departments to check the situation of illegal stands and online ordering.
In the old city area in Huangpu, the law-enforcement group figured out several illegal small food businesses. In the past decades, many small food businesses were playing “hide-and -see” with law-enforcement people. When the regulators come, they close the door. Some of them re-open immediately after being fined. At No. 129 South Guangqi Road, the regulators found an illegal fast food place, which was hard to discover. The make the pipes for lampblack along the wall, which disturbs the neighborhood and brings risk of fire safety issues.
Law-enforcement team regulated some restaurants without licenses, pushed down the illegal construction and turned the building into the original appearance. Zhu Liang, the Vice Director of market regulation department in Huangpu. The law-enforcement is led by street-level government, market regulation department. Many departments cooperate together. From single department to multiple departments, the goal is to prevent illegal food business from recovering.
On one side, the government need to regulate the illegal food business to reduce food safety risks; on the other side, for those food business that meet the food safety standards, the new regulation gives them the chance to register at street-level government.
In all, government’s attitude towards street food vending and small food vending business is not as clear as stated in the new regulation. It seems that the new regulation gives more space to those business, but it depends on how the regulatory department practices. Government tend to offer better resource or opportunity for popular food stands or vendors since the public opinion matters, but for those who are not famous, it could be a worse period now.
Some more short videos about street food:
A Da Fried Scallion Pancake – https://v.qq.com/x/page/c0153z6v49u.html
Jiang San Stinky Tofu – https://v.qq.com/x/page/q0180n9rt70.html
A Qiao Wonton – https://v.qq.com/x/page/v0173a2tatj.html
The regulatory department in 1990s was in a similar form as the structure when the PRC was established – multiple departments and laws were involved. Moreover, there were specific regulatory office and law-enforcement team on regulating vendors. While it seemed to be strong regulation power, the problem on regulating vendors still existed.
According to Yi Wang’s article on Shanghai City Management,
In 1990s, the former authorities of urban management fell in more than 10 departments including street supervision, urban appearance supervision, urban plan, real estate, garden and urban greens, industry and business, public security and street-level government. In addition to the complicated regulatory roles, there were specific regulatory offices on vendors and other law-enforcement team. The job these departments were doing was just fining vendors but not actually regulating. The people commented that more than ten officers even could not regulate one vendor.
(王翼. “上海城市管理综合执法改革透视.” 上海城市管理 14.1(2005):61-63.Wang, Yi, “Looking at Reform of Centralized Administration on Urban Management in Shanghai”, Shanghai City Management 14.1(2005):61-63)
When it came to early 21st century, the central government announced several executions for reforming regulatory department on urban management which required local government to merge some offices or departments to concentrate regulatory power, and published several regulations about improving centralized administration punishment.
Current government departments are local Food and Drugs Administrations and Urban Green Plant and Appearance Bureau. However, the earliest official document online for illustrating department reform and duties can be only traced back to 2003:
Shanghai Government Department Reform in 2003:
Based on Drugs Administrations, Food and Drugs Administrations would establish, which would continue the duty in drugs administration, but in addition, take charge of administration and coordination in food, health products and make-ups safety. It would be responsible for investigating in major accidents according to laws.
Shanghai Government Department Reform in 2008-2009, detailed reform document on the new Shanghai Urban Green Plant and Appearance Bureau:
The Shanghai Green Plant Bureau and Shanghai Urban Appearance Bureau (as well as its affiliated department Shanghai Urban Management Administration and Law-enforcement Bureau – Chengguan) are integrated into the Shanghai Urban Green Plant and Appearance Bureau. It will also take charge of partial duty of Shanghai Urban Plan Bureau in outdoor advertisement management.
Recent governmental documents about laws related to street food:
Central government emphasizes food safety problem in street food vending and online food business in this year’s report. This is the first time that central government put the key word“摊贩” vendors in their official report. In addition, the central government recently has published a document ““十三五”国家食品安全规划” (National Food Safety Plan for the 13th Five Years), which mentions that the government encourages food vending business but asks for more effort in clarifying the business’s responsibility, modifying the current regulatory system and strengthening regulations. Previously, the Report of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Executions of National Food Safety Law mentioned “摊贩” three times in 2002, 2010 and 2016.
Quotations from governmental documents:
Report of National People’s Congress on Executions of National Food Safety Law (2016)
(1) Food safety is still a serious issue
…Secondly, there are 11.85 million companies who own the license for food production business. In addition, there are many small workshops, vendors and food business. The problem of having so many small, diverse and separated food business is significant. The regulation on these business would be hard.
(8) Some practice of law should be clarified
…Thirdly, the regulations on small food workshops and food vendors according to the new Food Safety Law should be made by provinces and cities. However, there lacks a clear definition on small food workshops and food vendors, which is a difficulty for local government to establish regulatory system.
Report of National People’s Congress
On the fifth meeting of the 12th NPC on Mar. 8th 2017
(2) Improve people’s sense of safety. The NPC examined the execution of three laws related to public security. Push government of different levels to practice the notion of “people oriented” and “safe development,” which would enable people eat, travel and work safely.
Food is the basic for people and safety is the prior consideration for food. The NPC executed the requirement by President Xi that “enforce the strictest standardization, regulation, punishment and accountability” in examining food safety issue in China. Every process from the farm land to the table, the government would emphasize editable agriculture products, milk powder for babies and related areas including kindergartens and schools that provide food in-house, weakness in food safety regulation on food workshops, vendors and online business, in order to give advice on ensuring food safety. The State Council also has highlighted food safety and made the “National Food Safety Plan for the 13th Five Years.”
National Food Safety Plan for the 13th Five Years.
- Current Situation
(5) Improve the regulatory system. The government has modified 10 related laws and regulations including National Food Safety Law and Regulations on Drugs for Animals, more than 20 departmental food safety regulations. 6 provinces have published local regulations on food workshops and vendors. [including Shanghai]
- Major tasks
(1) Identify the responsibility of a business
Encourage and support the improvement on production process of small food workshops, vendors and businesses.
(3) Improve regulatory system
Push local government to publish local regulations on food workshops and vendors.
(5) Be strict on regulating
On site examination should follow the examination plan of the year, covering all food producers. The emphasized area are rural area, school and kindergarten, subjects are food workshops, vendors and small businesses, process are frozen delivery and storage and other mid to high risk food producers.
Explanations on Related Laws and Regulations
*Some laws and regulations are removed from last report since they clarify in details about the subjects that should not be applied on vendors.
Laws and regulations are of national level and local government level. National level laws and regulations are more general, such as Food Safety Law, which includes:
Chapter I General Provisions第一章 总则
Chapter II Food Safety Risk Monitoring and Assessment第二章 食品安全风险监测和评估
Chapter III Food Safety Standards第三章 食品安全标准
Chapter IV Food Production and Trade第四章 食品生产经营
Section 1 General Rules第一节 一般规定
Section 2 Production and Trade Process Control第二节 生产经营过程控制
Section 3 Labels, Instructions and Advertisements第三节 标签、说明书和广告
Section 4 Special Food第四节 特殊食品
Chapter V Food Inspection第五章 食品检验
Chapter VI Import and Export of Food第六章 食品进出口
Chapter VII Handling of Food Safety Accidents第七章 食品安全事故处置
Chapter VIII Supervision and Administration第八章 监督管理
Chapter IX Legal Liability第九章 法律责任
Chapter X Supplemental Provisions第十章 附则
The underlined chapters are more or less related to street food vending in different aspects. However, those regulations are also applied to other food production and business. The only two articles mentioned street food vending business are all pushing the responsibility of establishing the regulatory system to local government.
The local people’s governments at and above the county level shall put small food production or processing workshops and food vendors under comprehensive control, enhance services and unified planning, improve the production and trade environment of them, and encourage and support their improvement of production and trade conditions and operation at fixed places such as centralized trading markets and stores or within the specified temporary business areas and hours.
The specific measures for the administration of food production or processing workshops and food vendors shall be developed by a province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government.
Article 127 The punishment of the illegal acts of small food production or processing workshops and food vendors shall be governed by the specific administrative measures developed by each province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government.
食品流通许可证管理办法 (2009.7.30) Regulation on Food Circulation License is no longer in practice because of the adoption of Food Safety Law of the PRC.
食品安全国家标准管理办法 (2010.12.1) Regulations on Standardization on Food Safety is a regulation on managing food safety standardization so it does not have direct impact on street vending business.
食品生产许可管理办法 (2015.10.1) Regulations on Food Production Permission clarifies the process for applying for the permission license for food production and administration structure. Since individual business owners are included as subject of the regulation, it could have impact on street food vendors. However, according to the new practice suggestion from central government, street food vendors are more likely to be regulated under a more specific regulation with lower requirements according to local government regulations.
无照经营查处取缔办法 Measures for Investigating, Punishing and Banning Unlicensed Business Operations (2011Revision) is under the supervision of National Industrial and Commercial Management Department. However, the execution on specific cases mainly relies on local government. The Measures do not mention anything specific about street food vending. But if considered in a formal case, most street food vendors should be applied with this measure. The only article could be considered as a related example is about selling agricultural and sideline products by a farmer on a marketplace:
Article 21 The sale of self-produced agricultural and sideline products by a farmer on a marketplace or in an area designated by the local people’s government is not an unlicensed business operation as set out in these Measures.
食品生产经营日常监督检查管理办法 (2016.5.1) Measures for the Administration of the Routine Supervision and Inspection of the Food Production and Operation clarifies the process and corresponding punishment on food production process. It’s related to street food vending business because people couldn’t avoid FDA examinations, even if the check is random.
城市市容和环境卫生管理条例 (2011 version) Regulations on Urban Appearance and Environment was published in 1992, which has limited specific regulation on street food vendors but had a broad cover on the use of public space and the management of urban appearance. There is an article talking about vendors is as following:
Article 26 The competent department shall be responsible for organizing special persons to clean urban market places.
The practitioners of the various stalls shall be responsible for their own cleaning.
(Official Translation by pkulaw.cn)
国务院关于进一步推进对集中行政处罚权工作的决定 (2002.8.22) The State’s Council’s Decision on Improving Centralized Administration Punishment. This clarified the power of regulating in different governmental departments and unified the administration execution process. The decision formalized Chengguan team as a governmental department and entitled Chengguan a unified power in multiple areas.
The States Council permits the experiment of centralized administration punishment in Shenzhen in May, 1998. After the central government published the notice on centralized administration punishment in September, 2000, Shanghai local government published the decision on executing centralized administration punishment in urban area. During this period, the government also took “both build and regulate, emphasizing management” as a goal, which helps the nature of construction and management into “urban management”. In February, 2004, the execution was applied to all areas in Shanghai. Shanghai government published “Decision on Executing Centralized Administration Punishment in Shanghai”. This decision brought down the number of departments involved to 5 and simplified government officers for law-enforcement by reducing 20% of the original number. Every district started to have their Chengguan team, which unified the power of urban appearance, plan, green plant, environmental protection, industry and commercial, public security and transportation, real estate and other departments with 78 regulations and laws. The power and field of Chengguan team had a great expansion.
(王翼. “上海城市管理综合执法改革透视.” 上海城市管理 14.1(2005):61-63.Wang, Yi, “Looking at Reform of Centralized Administration on Urban Management in Shanghai”, Shanghai City Management 14.1(2005):61-63)
Regulations of Shanghai Municipality on the Administration of City Appearance and Environmental Sanitation (2009 Amendment) gives more details on street vending in public area. In a word, at the time when the regulation is published, the government are not in favor of street vending, especially when 2010 Shanghai World Expo was approaching. However, with the opinion from central government gradually changing in recent years, there are more measures or decisions published for explaining special cases on street vending, mostly after 2015. The government has adopted an open mind for street vending business now.
Official Translation by pkulaw.cn:
“The municipal and district/county people’s government shall rationally lay out commercial auxiliary facilities, and determine corresponding business places for operators of farm products and daily groceries to run business. District/county people’s governments shall formulate measures encouraging and guiding peddlers to enter business places.
No unit or individual person shall occupy any road, bridge, pedestrian overpass, underpass or other public places for the purpose of pitching stalls, doing business, and hawking goods, thus affecting the city appearance and environmental sanitation. Any violator of the provisions shall be ordered to make corrections by the CAED, and may be cumulatively imposed a fine of between not less than 50 yuan but not more than 500 yuan. The CAED may temporarily seize the goods that a party hawks and the tools in relation to illegal acts, and request the party to accept handling at the designated spot. After the party has accepted the handling, the CAED shall in a timely manner return the temporarily seized goods and related tools, and transfer the illegal goods to relevant department for handling. The CAED shall appropriately keep the temporarily seized goods. In respect of those goods easy to rot and go bad, the CAED may make proper treatment according to actual situation after retaining evidence.
“No unit or individual person shall occupy any road, bridge, pedestrian overpass, underpass, or other public place to pile goods, affecting city appearance and environmental sanitation. Any violator of the provisions shall be ordered to make corrections by the CAED, and may be imposed a fine of between not less than 50 yuan but not more than 500 yuan.
Those who are approved to temporarily occupy roads and other public places to pile goods or pitch stalls to do business shall keep the surrounding city appearance and environmental sanitation clean and tidy. Violators of the provision shall be ordered to correct by the CAED and may be fined between not less than 50 yuan but not more than 500 yuan.
The persons doing business in the buildings or structures along both sides of this Municipality’s roads or around squares shall not carry out business activities out of doors, windows and exposed walls. Violators of the provision shall be ordered to make corrections by the CAED and may be fined between not less than 50 yuan but not more than 500 yuan.”
上海市人民政府关于禁止生产经营食品品种的公告 (2013.9.29) Government of Shanghai’s Notice on Prohibited Products in Food Business has impact on street food vending business because it prohibited cold cooked food, juice, diary and cake with fresh cream as food for vending, which is closely related to some business such as duck neck and fresh juice (including sugarcane pomegranate juice and etc.)
上海市食品摊贩经营管理办法 (2015.1.16) Regulation on Street Food Vending Business in Shanghai is the first regulation on street food vendors. It identifies the duty of district-level government, departments (i.e. FDA, Greens and Urban Appearance, Chengguan) and street-level government. In general, the government encourage street food vending business to go into formal marketplace or temporary area that government assigns for vending business. Some of the regulations are covered by the Regulations on Food Safety in Shanghai which is published in 2017, including business requirements, information registration and prohibited items. In addition, the regulation mentioned a part called食品摊贩管理的社会参与和行业自律 (Society’s participation in food vendor management and industry self-discipline):
The government encourage food companies with good credit or professional institutions to participate in managing food vendors and offer food security service for centralized food vending area. The government encourage related food industry associations to enhance food vendor self-discipline, leading the food vending business to a legal operation.
*In the previous report, Eleme has been an example of Internet food company participating in helping food vendors with formalizing their business.
上海市食品药品监督管理局关于在浦东新区内试点施行小餐饮店备案和监督管理的通知 (2016.4.1) Notice on Experiment on Small Eatery Registration and Supervision in Pudong New Area by FDA Experiment on Small Eatery Registration and Supervision in Pudong New Area is an experiment to lower the requirement for small eatery business since there’s market demand from the public. The goal of the experiment is to simplify the application process – owners could get a registration approval instead of applying for the permission license to operate a small eatery business which has little negative impact on neighborhood, lower risk on food safety and small employment scale. However, according to a media report form sohu.com ( http://mt.sohu.com/20161121/n473768585.shtml), only two eateries in Pudong got registered in the experimental period of six months. since the requirement is still a problem for owners, especially for getting approval from all nearby residents and not producing lampblack. This practice is commented as a failure.
Notice on Executing Temporary Regulation on Food Business Permission in Shanghai. It describes the process and requirements for applying for the Food Business Permission. Street food venders are categorized in the group “Food seller – wholesale/retail or on-site production and sale”. 食品销售经营者-批发、零售、批发兼零售/现制现售
上海市食品安全条例 (2017.3.20) Regulations on Food Safety in Shanghai is the latest government regulation on food safety and the most detailed document on street food vending business.
No. 44 Any business of food production workshops and food vendors should obey “Food Safety Law” and food safety requirements in accordance to the business scale and condition clarified in this regulation to ensure the food safety.
Chapter 4, Part 2, Food Production Workshops and Food Vendors
No. 62: The district-level government should follow the rule of making the people convenient and locating the vendors properly to find a fixed business area for vendors and have policy for encouraging the business, helping food vendors set up their business in fixed area such as market and shops.
District-level government can have temporary area in certain time period for food vendors to operate the business according to needs. District-level government should give facilities support to vendors. The area and time chosen should not affect safety, traffic, urban appearance and life of residents.
Food vendors who have business in temporary area in certain time period should register information at district/street-level government. Or related department should give vendors information publicity card for their business, and share the information with local market supervision department, Green Plant and Urban Appearance department and Chengguan.
No. 63 Food vendor should meet these requirements for food business:
- The stand should be more than 25 meters away from public toilets, septic tank, septic tank, sewage tank, garbage dump or other pollutions;
- The stand should have the equipment for producing, processing, storing, washing, disinfecting and refrigerating, which can accommodate the product variety and quantity;
- The stand should have cleaning facilities and equipment for water supply and drainage for washing tools, containers and food.
- The stand should have a dump container which has a lid to prevent rain, dust, pollution, insects and flies.
No stands would be allowed within 100 meters from kindergarten and schools.
No. 63 Food vendor should meet these requirements for food business:
- Vendor should show effective health certificate;
- Vendor should show the temporary business publicity card, and operate the business according to the record on the card;
- Vendor is not allowed to sell any raw food or any food that does not meet the requirement in law, regulation or food safety standards;
- Vendor should use safe, harmless and clean wrapping material, containers and tools;
- Vendor should keep personal health and cleanness. They should wash hands and wear clean clothes and caps for working;
- The water should meet the national standard on drinking water. The detergent should be safe and harmless, to prevent the food being polluted.
- Vendor should meet any other legal requirements.
Vendors should do their business in the temporary arear and time period assigned by local government, follow the rules on urban appearance management and keep the environment clean.
No. 65 Food vendors should keep the receipt for ingredients and additives for food production for at least 30 days.
No. 66 District-level government on market supervision should instruct and regulate food vendors to follow the food safety regulations.
Chengguan should regulate the food vendors according to urban appearance rules.
County-level government and street-level government should help the regulatory departments to regulate illegal food vending businesses.
Organizations On Behalf of Street Vendors:
There is no such organization in China helping street vendors.
However, in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, the government cooperate with a private service company called “Vendor’s Company” which asks vendors to pay for deposit of 1000RMB for a cart and charges vendor 200RMB per month for management fee. Some people say it’s good for regulation but there’s also some voice arguing that it is monopoly. (Source: Wenzhou Library, Online)
The another case is in Shanghai in 2013. It’s an illegal “organization” that charges vendors management (“protection”) fee and help them deal with government officers.
记者举报上海杨浦区摊贩占道 城管:有保护伞 我不会碰
The Journalist Report to Chengguan in Yangpu about Illegal Street Vendors
Chengguan: There’s Protection Power. I will not regulate them
Date: Oct. 31st, 2013
Abstract: Local residents in Wujiaochang Area had been keep complaining about street food business but no governmental departments took care of the situation. In the interview, the journalist saw some Chengguan stay nearby but they pretended to be not noticing the stands and claimed that they were not the people taking charge of this area.
In the scene, you can see that at the backdoor of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics on Wuchuan road, there is a 10-square-meter large stand on the street, almost taking all the space. Passengers can walk on the road for bikes. The vendor says that they are also having a hard life- they pay 6000 RMB protection fee to “Lao Si” to keep their business.
During the secret interview, “Lao Si” says in phone that the stands do not need any license as long as they pay the money. “The first department who approve my stands are the street-level government and Chengguan. If the Industry and Commerce Bureau or other departments blames you, you just say it’s me who operate the stand, and I will keep you fine.”
Street vending in China has a long history back to ancient times. Considering the history of Shanghai and China, the general classification on the period is:
Shanghai became a treaty port in 1843 (上海开埠). The international trade opened and the city became a commercial center. People from other provinces came to Shanghai to become a vendor since the market was open.
－《近代上海摊贩群体研究 (1843-1949)》Li, Liming (Research on Street Vendors in Modern Shanghai 1843-1949) https://www.amazon.cn/%E5%9B%BE%E4%B9%A6/dp/B00H994RXG
－ Related chapters include the four stages of street vending business in Shanghai, classification and location of stands and detailed analysis on vendors (origin, previous job, living situation and etc.)
In this book, the author mentioned《商民协会组织条例》(Regulation on Business and People Associations) published by Kuomintang in 1928 which covered regulation on vendors’ associations. There is a Japanese scholar Hajime Kaneko金子肇 who researched on the relationship between the vendor class, business associations, and the government at that time.
A vendor’s Income Could Be 6000 Yuan in Old Shanghai, Which Could Afford Life for 3-5 People (Note: great inflation in price at that time)
Date: Oct. 31st, 2014
Source: people.com [origin: Nanjing Daily]
The article discusses about the life of street vendors in Shanghai after 1843. It says that vendors need license in concessions at that time so more of them on in Chinese sections. There were many second-hand good vendors but street food vendors were more than them. In addition, it introduces regulators and income level on street vending business.
In addition, whether you select to be fixed stand or moving stand should be taken into consideration. Although the rent and tax were huge burden for fixed vendors, the moving vendors were in danger of being expelled by the police (Public Security Bureau). At that time, the police were playing the role as Chengguan. When the police came, you could see the vendors running away. It is common to see the police scold, abuse, extort or even beat vendors.
More of the vendors were selling vegetable, fruit and snack, which are daily necessity. In crowded business area, you could see snack stands everywhere. There are breakfast, pastry, sides, and snacks such as baked pancake, fried dough, fried dumplings, fried sesame ball and congee. In a national painting daily in 1910, people describe the scene of selling wonton: “People make sound with their should pole to sell wonton. You could find the vendors on the wharf. One yuan for one is a good price, the meat is fresh and it tastes delicious.” Once Zhang Ailin wrote: “In the lanes and streets, the voice of vendors is everywhere. ‘Tofu—Hua’ , the word tofu is very fast, and they prolong the pronunciation of ‘Hua’”.
1949 – 1978:
This period is after the PRC is established when at first the general economy was recovering but then moved into the planned economy period. During the recovering years from 1949 to 1952, the market was still open for vendors and regulated by the police. However, moving forward to 1956, after the planned economy policy was executed, the vendors were gradually eliminated since everything was allocated directly by government.
Liu, Lingling 刘玲玲《1949-1952年上海摊贩管理工作研究》Research on Regulating Street Vendors in Shanghai 1949 – 1952. Shanghai Normal University. 2012
Quotations: (Directly quoted from Abstract, might be some vocabulary errors)
“So from June 1949 to August 1950, the Public Security Bureau of Shanghai carried out some preliminary tightening and restrictive measures to specify the focused place for stall-keepers doing business, make up some stall-keepers’ groups, assess license tax, tax on stall-keepers. From September 1950 to the end of 1952, under the leadership of industrial and commercial Bureau, according to the historical tend, combined with various political movements, found out the stall-keepers’ situation, grasped the general information, replaced the licenses, overhauled the street vendors and other management.”
Management on Vending Business in Shanghai in Post-liberation Period
(Author: Zhang, Chen, who works at Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau, Archives Department)
Date: Oct. 9th, 2014
Source: Shanghai Archives Bureau
In Dec. 1949, there were 84623 vendors, and this number increased to 190000 by 1955. Among the newly added venders, migrants took 45%, of which 80% were farmers. The existence of large groups of vendors brought some negative effect on traffic, social security, taxation and etc. of Shanghai.
Shanghai local government started to regulate vending business, saying “a regulatory action to ensure social security, traffic and urban appearance but takes care of vendors’ business and daily life” as the direct goal and “helping regular development of taxation and the industry of business” as secondary goal. At the beginning, the police (Public Security Bureau) was responsible for the action. On Jun. 26th, 1949, the Public Security Bureau released “Regulations on Vendors” to ensure legal business as well as to regulate market order and traffic. It said “people should take action, emphasize education, strengthen regulation, limit development, consider different cases and reform gradually.” The details of the regulation include:
- Fixed stand vendors should submit the application form to the corresponding Public Security Bureau to get the approval for license for legal business operation. The license should be put at an obvious place for check purpose, and it should not be lent to others.
- The area for vending business should follow the assignment by the government. The area should not exceed length by 1.3 meters and width by 1 meter.
- Vendors should be responsible for cleaning the stall and surroundings.
- To avoid the market being disturbed by spalpeens, the vendors have the right to report to the Public Security Bureau. If it is the fact, the Public Security Bureau should protect the vendors.
- Without permission, vendors cannot build any additional architecture or use tent. Vendors are prohibited from ruining public buildings and streets. Vendors are not allowed to sell any unsafe or illegal products, bargain for an extraordinarily high price or find a new place for business by themselves.
- If vendors violate those regulations, they would face punishment including “warning”, “temporarily suspending business”, “some amount of fine” and “cancel business license or permanently suspending business”.
With the development of regulation system and public security management, Shanghai started to tax on vendors’ license. On Mar. 1st, 1950, the government announced the establishment of Shanghai Vendor Regulation Committee, including people from Public Security Bureau, Finance Bureau, Civil Affairs Bureau and Industry and Business Bureau. They set an office of the committee at the Public Security Bureau. There were subordinate committees in each district, including people from corresponding district-level departments, appointing the director general of district-level Public Security Bureau as the leader. District-level Public Security Bureau took charge of execution. They estimated the income level of each stand and taxed them. There was a democratic system on estimating income – reporting income by vendors and taking public opinions, so that the government could know the number of vendors, capital, business area, sales and etc. thoroughly for taxation. On Nov. 29th, 1950, the government announced a “Temporary Regulation on Vendors in Shanghai”, which adjusted some regulations. The regulations asked vendors who were in food, medicines, barber and laundry business should get the certificate from local health departments to start the application for license. It also added several new lines about not allowing scales that hadn’t been checked by government, for which the punishment included 1. warning and education, 2. suspending business for 1 – 10 days, 3. a fine of 2000 to 50000 yuan (old), 4. cancelling the license and permanently suspending the business, 5. taking to the person to court when necessary.
1978 – Now:
In the more than 30 years after Reform and Opening-up, the government encouraged private business and individual economy as a supplement to public owned economy (1982). In this period, the regulation system developed.
Jin, Lin 金凌. 上海流动摊贩管理现状与对策分析 Analysis on The Current Situation of Regulating Moving Vendors in Shanghai. Fudan University. 2010.
(The author briefly introduces the overall situation after Reform and Opening-up in Chapter 2.1.1.) Jin concludes three reasons for the recession in vending business: 1. the society shifted emphasis onto knowledge, and those with higher education degrees had their salary improved. 2. with production capacity developing, consumers have more choices and quality in formal stores. 3. with lots of SOEs merged or shut down, the unemployed came into vending business which made the business more competitive.
Many of individual vendors were not registered at the Administration for Industry and Commerce. The vendors were everywhere on the streets, doing small businesses. Street-level government and Resident Committee would ask them to do business in a specific area and charge them administration fee. During that period, the government regarded the phenomenon as incenting economy and promoting the market so that did not interfere with the vending business very much.
进入21世纪以来， 我国城市化进程加快， 由于农业耕作效率的提高，城乡收入差距的持续扩大， 大量的农村青壮年富余劳动力加速涌向城市,由于各种主客观方面的限制，除了一部分成为“农民工”外，更多的人只能选择从事流动摊贩这一行当。由于流动摊贩的经营产生外部不经济性如环境污染、影响市容及公共交通安全、扰乱经济秩序等，各地政府部门也从这一时期开始实施反复取缔的政策。
When it comes to the 21st century, the urbanization of China has been accelerating. Because the agricultural production becomes more and more efficient, the income gap between urban and rural areas is more severe. Large amount of young labor from rural areas come to cities. Some of them become “migrant workers,” but the majority have to become vendors, due to some limitations. The negative externality that vending business has caused includes environmental pollution, urban appearance, public transportation safety and economy disorder, which makes the government to enforce strict policy on street vending.
This is a documentary made by STV Documentary Channel about the street food in lanes in Shanghai. The guest speakers are all talking in Shanghai dialect, translated into English by Jiaqi Dong.