The “odd jobs”, at the heart of the political debate in China

In the foreground, Chinese President Xi Jinping and behind him, Premier Li Keqiang, at the close of the parliamentary session on May 28 at the People's Palace in Beijing.

Would small street vendors be the subject of a discreet summit battle between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang? The recent shift made by official propaganda on this issue suggests this.

Prime Minister Li Keqiang, on May 22, in his speech at the opening of the parliamentary session, hammered at least 40 times that his priority is employment. While growth prospects are so haphazard that the government has given up on making them public, Li Keqiang says it takes “Seek by all means to stabilize and increase employment”.

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On May 28, during the press conference closing the parliamentary session, the Prime Minister was even more precise. China, communist or not, has become the paradise of “Gig economy”, the economics of odd jobs. “Today, more than 100 million people are employed in new forms of employment and activity and around 200 million people work in the economy of odd jobs.

The government must continue to help them, and at the same time lift all unjustified restrictions which prevent the development of these activities and these sectors ”, he explains. And this liberal to continue: “About two weeks ago, I saw on the news that a city in western China, with local rules and regulations, set up 36,000 mobile booths, creating more than 100 overnight 000 jobs. “

In fact, the day before, the television news had published a report on the city in question: Chengdu, capital of Sichuan. Also the day before, the communism office of the central committee of the Communist Party had discreetly decided that the absence of street markets should no longer be retained as a criterion of good municipal management. A little revolution.

“Part of the Vitality” of China

Since entering modernity, China’s high-speed trains, 5G and shopping malls air-conditioned chased tens of millions of street vendors from the countryside with only a rough idea of ​​food hygiene and tax codes. All cities have police brigades responsible for “cleaning” the streets.

1er June, visiting Shandong, Li Keqiang again promoted these small street businesses, which constitute “An important source of jobs” and “Part of the vitality of China, just like big companies.” While the unemployment rate has officially dropped from 5% to 6% but some estimate it to be 20% of the working population, the new policy embodied by Li Keqiang is igniting social networks. In ten days, online information on the subject was read more than 1.6 billion times. Chengdu becomes the model to follow. The opening of online accounts by future small merchants on WeChat and Alipay, the Chinese payment platforms, is exploding.

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