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Print Edition> Forum
UPDATED: February 12, 2011 NO. 7 FEBRUARY 17, 2011
Should the Buying of Cars Be Limited?

Currently the chances of drawing a winning lottery ticket is one in 10. Applications that aren't chosen will automatically be shifted to the next month and the rate becomes even lower. It is unfair to people who desperately need cars and who are not chosen for a long period of time.

Second, Beijing restricts only the number of private cars but does little to official cars or cars in the army.

Third, the drawing of lots may lead to illegal activities such as corruption and under-the-table trade. If the drawing of lots and its results can't be totally transparent, it will bring many huge potential risks.

Fourth, the drawing of lots policy should be temporary and shouldn't be continued for long. Although it is urgent to deal with the traffic congestion in Beijing, the solution should be based on people's opinions. We should find an effective way that doesn't violate the average citizen's interests. The current policy of restricting the buying of cars has lots of problems and is bound to be replaced by better ones in the future.

Xie Qiulian (Strait News): Restricting the number of cars is something like an outcome of planned economy, which directly contradicts the development plan of China's automobile industry. Just like levying traffic congestion fees, this policy is a lazy one.

Xiao Jian (The Beijing News): What people really care is whether fairness is the basic principle underlying traffic congestion control in Beijing. For instance, is the responsibility shared by everyone in society? Are official cars treated the same as private cars? Are people whose hukou, permanent residence permits, are not in Beijing treated equally with local residents?

First, those who live and work in Beijing but their hukou are not in Beijing also make great contributions to the city's development. They hand in the same amount of tax as local residents each year. If hukou is used as the standard for limiting car purchase, it is not only discrimination in the policy but is also quite unfair to non-local Beijing residents. Beijing once used hukou for the purpose of car purchase limitation, but this was later cancelled. The cancellation was then praised by the public as huge progress. We shouldn't go back.

Second, the great number of official cars, which are frequently used, is a big factor causing traffic congestion. But the congestion control policy mainly aims at private cars and has no clear restrictions on the use of official cars. This is unfair.

Finally, the method of drawing lots should be based on transparency, fairness and justice. If there is any corruption or under-the-table trading, public opinions will surely react very strongly. That's a huge risk of the policy.

Fairness is the foundation of social stability and is the premise of smooth implementation of policies. Therefore, traffic congestion control should put fairness in first place and treat equally private cars and official cars. Also, people whose hukou are not in Beijing should be given an equal chance to buy a car in the city as local residents.

(For more information about Beijing's new policy to cope with traffic congestion, please see Page 16-23)

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