Following a recent spate of altercations between boisterous expats and disgruntled Shanghainese locals, the Chinese Government are now looking at proposals for a 10pm curfew to be applied to what Yongkang Rd or the former French Concession as its best known by the European regulars who frequent its pizzeria, the butchers and the chip-shop, as well as the alcohol-fuelled frenzy.
The issues actually started escalating around a year ago, but after the latest entanglement which saw water-drenching revellers leaving the scene after disturbed residents dissuaded the drunken by pouring buckets of water down onto the raucous from their homes. The situation as now led to split sentiments that hold either the expats or local residents accountable.
The area is renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, but after an increasing number of bars have been allowed to open, they’ve effectively replaced and perhaps by default ruined its longstanding residential status. Spending late nights lying awake and listening to noise from the street below is no family’s idea of home, so it’s easy to empathise; but are the expats themselves really to blame?
Locals have commented: “The dispute has become a war between locals and the drunken expats since the Government did nothing … There are many senior people living in the area. It sounds like New Year’s Eve when bars had their windows or doors open at night … We are not kicking bars out from our street; we just hope bars can keep their customers inside.”
Somewhat surprisingly, not all residents agree on the source of the problem, let alone the solution. Some say that expats should have more respect, whilst some say they’re behaving well within the permissions granted by the barkeepers, who do little to contain their somewhat disrespectful clientele or to restrict any relative disruption outside; but that could be all set to change.
Shanghai’s ever-changing landscape seems to shift whenever Westernised sectors such as Yongkang Rd flare up and many locals see the proposed curfew as nothing more than a temporary fix. Rental and tenancy agreements have seemingly shifted toward the profitable entertainment industry and locals say that bar relocations and new licencing restrictions should now be introduced.
By Anthony Standring
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