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Motorcycle taxi drivers rally again after business banned in southeast China
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15:04, August 03, 2009

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More than 400 motorcycle taxi drivers rallied again Monday against a government order banning their operation in the southeast China city of Quanzhou, Fujian Province.

About 1,000 drivers held a similar rally on Saturday.

The drivers started gathering outside the compound of the municipal government at 8 a.m., but dispersed at around 11:30 a.m. after the government promised to help them find new work.

About 100 police officers were deployed to maintain the order. No violence or clashes were seen.

A driver named Tan Weihan, 33, said he knew it was illegal to operate a taxi service without a license. However, it was the only source of the family's income.

"We need help," Tan said.

Vice Mayor Hong Zesheng and other government officials were in talks with 10 representatives from the drivers.

In order to help the motorcycle taxi drivers, the labor and social security authorities in three districts of the city where most of the drivers live would provide free job training and employment information for them, Hong said.

Those who face financial difficulties could apply for help from the civil affairs administration, Hong added.

The Fengze District government is offering security guard jobs and positions as cleaners for the drivers and a 50,000-yuan (7,320 U.S. dollars) loan free of interest for two years.

A local security company has so far recruited 60 people from the motorcycle taxi drivers.

The city government issued an order banning motorcycle taxis from Aug. 1, on the grounds that drivers had been rampantly violating traffic regulations and been involved in robberies and rapes.

But the motorcycle taxi drivers, who number about 30,000 in the city, complained the ban would affect their livelihoods because the business were their major source of income.

Motorcycle taxis are not a licensed form of transport in China.

Source: Xinhua

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