A for­eigner’s view on the clo­sure

I hope the bars on Yongkang Road can be re­opened while avoid­ing any se­ri­ous im­pact on the sur­round­ing res­i­dents.

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - Michael Werk­meis­ter Michael Werk­meis­ter spoke with Zhou Wenting

Michael Werk­meis­ter from Ger­many has lived in Shang­hai for 15 years and is a reg­u­lar cus­tomer of the bars along Yongkang Road.

I just re­turned to Shang­hai from a trip and was sur­prised to see that Yongkang Road had changed. We’ve all heard that the ma­jor­ity of the bars were closed mainly be­cause they didn’t ob­tain busi­ness li­censes or have a per­mit to sell al­co­hol. On the Chi­nese land­lord side there might have been il­le­gal rent­ing out of hous­ing space and us­ing it for com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity. I also heard that some ex­pa­tri­ates did some il­le­gal things, such as tak­ing drugs in the small al­leys of the neigh­bor­hood.

The bar man­agers must shoul­der the re­spon­si­bil­ity for mak­ing sure cus­tomers stay within the law. Back in Ger­many, any bar man­ager that finds a cus­tomer whose be­hav­ior is prob­lem­atic will ask him or her to be­have, or leave. It should be the same here.

I came to the street a lot although I don’t live or work nearby. I loved to grab a beer, read news­pa­pers and watch soccer games here. But I didn’t come at night. I knew peo­ple’s be­hav­ior was some­times ex­ces­sive here af­ter dark, which brought about the con­flict with res­i­dents.

I love Yongkang Road and it seems far more in­ter­est­ing to me than Tianz­i­fang or Xin­tiandi. This place is non-com­mer­cial and so nat­u­ral and real. It re­minds me of my home city Berlin, where we can see com­mu­ni­ties with shops on the first floor and res­i­dents liv­ing up­stairs. But maybe Yongkang Road is over­loaded with bars, which caused the prob­lems.

My house is close to Hong­mei En­ter­tain­ment Street, a pedes­tri­an­ized street in­de­pen­dent from the ad­ja­cent res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ties and filled with for­eign restau­rants and bars. It is near the Gubei area where many ex­pa­tri­ates live, and there­fore there are fewer dis­putes.

I hope the bars on Yongkang Road can be re­opened while avoid­ing any se­ri­ous im­pact on the sur­round­ing res­i­dents.

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