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Cabbies go on strike in northeast China city
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13:28, July 30, 2009

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Hundreds of taxi drivers in northeast China's Mudanjiang City Thursday continued to stage sit-ins before local Party and government office buildings in protest over the local government's plan to reform the current taxi operating system, said a city government spokesman Thursday.

Zhao Shiyuan, secretary general of Mudanjiang City Government, said the city government had to mobilize taxi drivers from neighboring cities to offer taxi services and help alleviate traffic pressure caused by the strike of local taxi drivers that began a week ago.

China shares border with Russia via Mudanjiang, a tourist city in Heilongjiang Province and more than 300 kilometers away from Harbin, the provincial capital. Mudanjiang City has 2.8 million permanent residents and has 2,705 taxis in service, most of which are privately run, said Zhao.

The departments of communications and public security in Mudanjiang City published Provisional Measures Regarding Management of Urban Taxis in Mudanjiang City (draft) on July 20 and solicited opinions from the public.

The draft document of Provisional Measures Regarding Management of Urban Taxis in Mudanjiang City stipulates that taxis bought before July 20 this year could be awarded with another eight years of operating term each if the eight-year-long usage span of the taxis matures. Taxis bought after July 20 or remaining unchanged hands will only be awarded eight years of operating rights each.

"Misinterpretation by the part of cabbies is the cause of the strike," said Zhao, who added the draft document was open to discussions and could be improved based on opinions aired by taxi drivers.

Mayor Zhang Jingchuan has held dialogues with some of the drivers with the hope of bringing the drivers back to work, but the efforts have been fruitless.

The taxi drivers began their strike on July 23.

By People's Daily Online

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