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Shops in scenic town back in business

By HE DAN and WEN XINZHENG (China Daily)

11:35, April 13, 2013

Shop owners block tourist boats in protest at a new government policy to charge an admission fee to the scenic town of Fenghuang in Hunan province. They fear the charge will deter tourists. (CHINA NEWS SERVICE / YI MO)

Thousands stage protest after entry charge introduced at ancient site

Most shop owners in a scenic town in Hunan province resumed business on Friday after a one-day strike to protest against an entry charge to the town was imposed by the county government.

They fear the admission charge will lead to a drop in tourists and that their businesses will be affected.

Cai Long, deputy head of the county government, told China Daily on Friday the county government will continue the controversial policy but make some adjustments as debate over the charge continues.

Liu Jianling, a clerk at a silver accessory shop in Fenghuang county, said most stores in the main shopping street had reopened by 3 pm. About 80 percent of shops in the street, including the one Liu works for, closed and many boats stopped picking up tourists on Thursday in opposition to the new charge, the 19-year-old said.

"Most shops reopened today but business was so slow that we only had one sale," she said. "Customer numbers were way down on a normal Friday when tourists start to flood in for the weekend."

She said no officials have visited traders in the old town to discuss the new policy.

Under the new policy, which took effect on Wednesday, tourists must pay an entrance fee of 148 yuan ($24) to visit the old town of Fenghuang, which includes admission to 10 scenic areas.

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