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China: Around The Nation

Disabled Chinese pieman forced to halt business after 34 years because he has no licence

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 2:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2016, 2:58pm

A disabled man who has served green onion pies to thousands of Shanghai residents over the past 34 years, was forced to shut his shop on Monday because he had never obtained a business licence, mainland media reports.

Wu Gencheng, who is in his 60s and a hunchback, started his business frying the traditional savoury favourites for customers using a wok at a street market stall 34 years ago.

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He opened his tiny side-street shop, “A Da” – meaning oldest brother – in the city’s busy Huangpu district in 2003, the news portal Thepaper.cn reported.

Large queues of customers had often formed outside as early as 5am to ensure they could buy Wu’s freshly made pies, the report said.

However, on Monday the local market supervisory authority forced him to close the shop.

“We had spoken to him on numerous occasions and told him to stop running his business”, a local market supervisory official was quoted as saying.

Wu was unable to obtain a business licence because his premises in the alley could not be used for commercial purposes, the report said.

However, the authority said it was now trying to help Wu find an affordable alternative site for his business because he was handicapped.

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Some mainland social media bloggers wrote on Weibo that they were worried that Wu would be unable to find another place for his business as rents in the area were very expensive.

“Isn’t 34 years’ reputation more important than an official document?” one person wrote.

“I bet the man wanted to obtain the documents, but he did not entertain the authority’s officials well enough to get them.”

People wanting to open small businesses on the mainland must carry out several procedures, which involve gaining the local approval of various authorities, including the fire, tax, and industry and commerce departments.

Such bureaucratic procedures can often be tedious.