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Cabbies' protest continues in western China province, 35 arrested
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08:42, June 17, 2009

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Protests by cab drivers in western China's Qinghai Province over operation rights continued Tuesday for a fourth day ,local government officials said.

On Tuesday, more than 150 drivers gathered at the city government headquarters in Xining, Qinghai's capital.

About 960 other taxis had resumed service, but Xinhua reporters said that most had removed the lights on top of their vehicles and covered their license plates.

Drivers across Qinghai Province were angered after a newspaper reported Friday that the provincial government would cut their license periods from 12 years to eight, meaning most of their licenses would expire now or in a year.

Yuan Fuyu, director in the transportation department of the provincial communication administration, Monday called the report "incorrect and misleading." He said the shorter period would only apply to new licenses, and that existing drivers would have unspecified advantages in renewing their licenses.

But some people interviewed by Xinhua, including a few staff members from local governments in Qinghai, agreed that the policy was ambiguous and might be hard to understand.

There was no indication that the policy would be changed. Local taxi drivers were being asked to sign a guarantee to stop striking and return to work. Those who don't agree face losing their operation rights, one driver said.

Police detained 35 people who had "taken the chance to make trouble," said Huang Shujiang, vice head of the Xining public security bureau.

On heels of the strike in Xining, there were taxi drivers' protests in other parts of Qinghai.

According to local officials, 228 taxis went on strike Monday afternoon in the Datong Hui and Tujia Autonomous County, which is some 65 km from Xining. The local government assured them in an open letter that no new measures were being taken and asked them to return to the road.


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