Lanzhou Taxi Drivers Protest Against Road Construction Fee

China News Digest, 14 March 2001

[CND, 03/14/01] About 5,000 taxi drivers surrounded government offices in Lanzhou Tuesday, protesting against the sudden imposition of a 500 yuan Road Construction Fee, the Hong Kong iMail reported quoting the Hong Kong based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

The protesters clashed with 300 riot policemen Tuesday morning and dozens of people were injured or taken away, the report said. The protest continued late Tuesday afternoon.

The taxi drivers were angry at various fees imposed on them, including a compulsory 2,265 yuan fee for annual vehicle safety check, up to 300 yuan fines for minor traffic regulation violations, and this 500 yuan road construction fee supposedly to be levied every quarter.

About 6,700 taxi drivers started massive stoppage on Monday, which paralyzed traffic and stranded many travelers at Lanzhou airport. The protest forced government to negotiate with a representative of the drivers. No agreement was reached as of this report yet. (Shiji SHEN)