Boozing expats ruin Shanghai art street

Boozing expats ruin Shanghai art street

Every night is New Year’s Eve in Shanghai’s expat party district. Meanwhile, locals are throwing buckets of water on partiers
More than a few people won't be amused by this toga party.

Back in 2010, we reported on an up-and-coming arts and entertainment street called Yongkang Road in Shanghai’s former French Concession district.

Now, we'd like to formally apologize to local residents for giving any coverage at all to the formerly obscure street.

In a bewilderingly short span of time, the once quiet and artsy Shanghai street has exploded into one of most crowded drinking spots in the city, maybe in Asia, thanks largely to a mob of swill-happy expats.

A tame night on Yongkang Road. Dozens of street-level spaces in the 50-meter-long street have been converted into bars, while upper floors have remained residential.

China Daily reports that local residents are outraged over the new nightlife development and “unbearable” noise.

“Some have become so exasperated that they have emptied buckets of water onto the crowds below in an effort to disperse them,” reports the state-owned newspaper.

More on CNN: Insider Guide: Best of Shanghai

Worse are the self-aggrandizing boozehounds who attempt to intellectualize their late-night delirium.

“Entertainment and nightlife are important components of successful cities and conflict between different communities is a natural consequence of a great, rising city that's not only a center for business, but also for fun and culture," said J. T. Singh, who China Daily identified as “a Canadian ‘urban explorer and city identity expert’ who has lived in Shanghai for six months.”

With these kind of stellar C.V. credentials, is it possible not to be empathetic to such a broadminded global troubadour?

Before photo: Yangkong Road in 2009. The article on the Yongkang Road horror is trending as one of the most viewed articles on the site today.

Other Shanghai blogs and media have discussed the reinvention of Yongkang Road and subsequent clash between expats and locals.

Local outrage

Back in March, the popular local blog posted a video of disgusted residents dumping water on caterwauling expats, and wondered which side was coming off worse.

"Since the water-pouring conflict, all the bars are required to close before 10 p.m. and all the outdoor tables must be moved back into the bar around 9 p.m.," Alex Li, a waitress at Yongkang Road bar Shanghai Sliders, told CNN. 

Li said many of the bars have given money to local residents as compensation, but did not comment on the amount. 

Despite efforts by the authorities to curb the mayhem, the partying goes on.

More on CNN: Opinion: Drunken British expats should be chained up

"The authorities have asked shops to keep people indoors after 10 p.m, but on weekends there are still drunk people making a lot of noise in the middle of the street," said local photographer Min Wei.

"Many expats have little respect for locals' lifestyle on YongKang Road," Wei added. "Many old people who live there go to sleep early and there isn't much enforcement on the 'no drinking outside after 10 p.m.' policy by the authorities. As a result, there's not going to be much change on Yongkang road for some time." 

Is it OK to booze it up in the name of “progress,” even if the locals are inconvenienced? Discuss in the comments section below.

Frances Cha is a Digital Producer at CNN Travel. 


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