We meet a woman selling fruit, like mangoes and peaches, along the road. She does not want to be photographed. According to her, if the photos of her are uploaded to the web and found by the police, she may be easily recognized by them and cause trouble for her.
Every day at 7:00 a.m. she goes to a wholesale market to purchase fruit. After that she always goes to the same place on a street in the center of Nanjing to sell her fruit from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Then she will go home, as about that time the police (*) will start to patrol in the area. Once she was found by the police peddling along the road and all her fruit was confiscated. She adds that the police do not accept any fees that would allow her to sell her fruit. The profit she makes in one day is around 50 RMB.
Other peddlers surround us soon, laughing at her shyness and trying to persuade her to be photographed. One middle-aged man complains to us: “See the people in that institute coming here in their BMW? They belong to the upper class of the society and they own whatever they want. However, people like her, who are among the lowest class, have nothing but a small business to support the family. The government can entitle the elites to expensive cars, cheap houses, and many other things, but allows no space for these people to make a living. Is it fair? ”
(*) Actually it is not the police she is referring to, but we could not find a better translation for it. The woman is referring to certain people who patrol in urban areas, supported by the municipal government, to chase out peddlers, confiscate their goods and even beat them. Their excuse to do so is to maintain order and a “good face” of the city.