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Qinghai taxi drivers strike

MORE than 100 taxi drivers went on strike yesterday in Qinghai Province to urge the local government to stop illegal cabs as the Ministry of Public Security said a nationwide crackdown would begin on unlicensed taxis in an effort to protect cabbies from illegal competition.

The Qinghai cabbies gathered on a road in Tongren County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, about 8am and did not disperse until about 7pm.

A driver said they staged the strike because of the local government's failure to curb illegal taxis.

"There are only 180 licensed taxis in Tongren and the number of unlicensed cabs exceeds 300," he said. "We have no other choice but to strike after our appeals failed to make any difference."

Another driver said the illegal cabbies earn more money than licensed drivers.

"I work from early morning till late at night and only earn 100 yuan (US$15) every day," he said. "But the illegal cab drivers can earn more because they do not have to pay registration fees."

The county's transport officials promised to launch a crackdown on illegal cabbies. The cabbies said they would continue the strike if the problem wasn't solved.

The Ministry of Public Security said the nationwide campaign will start on Friday and last three months.

It will focus on gangs that disrupt the market, according to a bulletin posted on the ministry's Website on Saturday.

Unlicensed taxis were partly blamed for triggering strikes by cabbies in southwest municipality Chongqing and the southern resort city of Sanya in Hainan Province late last year.


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