Lai See

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 April, 2004, 12:00am

SHANGHAIED BY DICK CHENEY Yesterday was a bad day for Shanghai cabbies. The city had two high-profile guests - United States Vice-President Dick Cheney and European Union Commission president Romano Prodi - and dozens of financial big-wigs attending the spring meeting of the Institute of International Finance, which is being held in Shanghai for the first time.

The first two were driven around the city in black limousines with police escorts. In the meticulous preparation China affords such VIPs, streets were closed and traffic blocked to ensure that they reached their meetings on time. Police even stopped pedestrians from using overpasses overlooking Mr Cheney's motorcade.

'It is four o'clock and the evening traffic jam has begun an hour early,' said one unhappy taxi driver as he watched the long line of buses and vehicles waiting to use the tunnel under the Huangpu river. 'Yes, the foreign guests are in a hurry. But so are we. We have to earn a living, too.'