Com­mer­cial­iza­tion is a so­lu­tion

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - Zhou Hai­wang Zhou Hai­wang spoke with Zhou Wenting

Zhou Hai­wang, deputy di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Pop­u­la­tion and De­vel­op­ment at the Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sci­ences

I be­lieve the crux of the is­sue is that the govern­ment didn’t imag­ine the bar street would be­come that pop­u­lar when it came into be­ing and cre­ate such huge con­flicts be­tween res­i­dents and fun seek­ers. The clo­sure may seem sud­den but is es­sen­tial to put an end to the con­fronta­tions.

How­ever, en­ter­tain­ment and nightlife are an im­por­tant part of life for the ex­pa­tri­ate com­mu­nity. When they con­sider set­tling down in a city, they not only take its eco­nomic power into con­sid­er­a­tion, but also its cul­tural life.

Shang­hai has an am­bi­tious plan for de­vel­op­ment through 2040. It will strive to be a com­pet­i­tive world-class city, with for­eign res­i­dents ac­count­ing for more than 5 per­cent of its to­tal pop­u­la­tion.

The day when the ex­pa­tri­ate pop­u­la­tion of Shang­hai reaches a mil­lion is just around the cor­ner. (Of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics show that there are cur­rently more than 170,000 for­eign­ers in Shang­hai who have lived and worked in the city for more than six months.)

Although ex­pa­tri­ates like Yongkang Road for its strong fla­vor of daily life with neigh­bors liv­ing up­stairs, I be­lieve com­plete com­mer­cial­iza­tion of the street is the best so­lu­tion to avoid mix­ing to­gether those seek­ing ex­cit­ing nightlife and the oth­ers who sim­ply want to have a good night’s rest.

Xin­tiandi, a down­town land­mark that was once made up of old Shang­hai res­i­den­tial houses but has been trans­formed into a fashion and din­ing hub for both ex­pa­traites and Chi­nese, can serve as a good ex­am­ple.

More­over, ex­pats must obey Chi­nese laws and rules. Any­one vi­o­lat­ing the coun­try’s laws and reg­u­la­tions faces pun­ish­ment.

I think if all the bars had tried var­i­ous means to min­i­mize their in­flu­ence on res­i­dents, such as clos­ing at an agreed time and stop­ping serv­ing cus­tomers when the noise seemed too much, and if the cus­tomers had all shown due re­spect to the lo­cal com­mu­nity, we could have seen a bet­ter out­come for the bar street.

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