Bikes in China: Defending a great tradition

There are 460 million bicycles in China, but that number may be at a plateau. As the country industrializes, the Chinese middle class has a big appetite for — what else? — the automobile.

 

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But government officials are making a new push to repopularize the bicycle — especially in Beijing, in anticipation of the upcoming Olympics.

Another front in the battle for the bike: Officials are also cracking down on bike theft. Last month, they reduced the public scourge by 50 percent, down to 2 million stolen bikes in the last 9 months.

“We strongly smashed illegal bicycle theft activities and constrained the growth of new cases,” said Ma Weiya, vice-director of the police social security management department.

“Our work in these aspects will not let up. We need to see this work through to completion and ensure the problem of bicycle theft is gradually and thoroughly resolved,” he said.

That’s tough talk and big results! I wonder what the current slate of presidential candidates here in the US have to say about the menace of bike theft.

Photo: (cc) Yewenyi, http://www.flickr.com/photos/yewenyi/