On the morning of March 31st, the merchants of Zhuzhou Clothing Wholesale Market gathered at the entrance of the mall, holding banners while shouting “Rent reduction for half a year!” After receiving no response, hundreds of merchants gathered at the gate of the municipal administration again in the afternoon but were later driven away by police.
Songbei market, Protect our rights, Reduce the rent! Songbei market, Protect our rights, Reduce the rent!
“The police are beating people, the police are beating people!”
“Fight if they want, but they can’t beat us, we have more people.”
Mr. Guo, a citizen of Zhuzhou:
“Because of this epidemic, my business was closed down. It just recently reopened, but the demand is very weak. Therefore, my business is not doing well and I’m losing money. They asked the market manager for a half year rent reduction but they refused. Then they came to the gate of the municipal government to voice their demands.”
The anonymous owner of a clothing store in Songbei Market in Zhujiang: “They have the final say about everything in the market. It is a very very small place. (Rent) is more than 100,000 to 200,000 yuan a year. Our business was not very good. We were definitely affected by the epidemic, so we must safeguard our rights. If they reduce the rent, we’ll stop causing a commotion.”
According to local media reports, many shopping malls in Zhuzhou have reduced rent for merchants, some for one month, and some for half a month.
Ms. Xiao, the owner of a clothing store in Songbei Market, said that even if the rent is reduced, one or two months is not enough, so she decided to quit, transferring the stall to someone else. Ms. Xiao, the owner of a Songbei market clothing store, said: “It’s useless, I quit.”
Various parts of China resumed work in February. Merchants in various places continue to demand rent reductions. In early March, merchants at Shenzhen and Guangzhou clothing wholesales held large-scale protests on the streets for rent reductions. Since then, similar petitions have continued.