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Pyjama police fight Shanghai's daytime love of nightwear

meanwhile elsewhere in China...
Quake-hit Chinese city gives poor shopping vouchers
The earthquake-hit southwestern city of Chengdu will give its poorest people shopping vouchers to boost consumption during the Chinese new year holiday, state media reported Friday. The municipal government will give each member of the city's 379,100 low-income population vouchers worth 100 yuan (14.50 dollars), which can be spent at select stores, the People's Daily website reported. The coupons can be used throughout next month, when the country celebrates the Lunar New Year holiday, or Spring Festival, the report said, citing Chen Xiangjun, deputy director of the city's civil affairs bureau. The Chinese government has become increasingly worried about social unrest as the country's underprivileged suffer layoffs due to the economic slowdown. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, was devastated by a massive earthquake on May 12 that left nearly 88,000 people dead or missing, 375,000 injured, over five million homeless. China celebrates the Lunar New Year holiday from January 25 to 31.
by Staff Writers
Shanghai (AFP) Dec 12, 2008
Community leaders in Shanghai are trying to break up the love affair of some city residents with walking outside in their pyjamas, state media reported Friday.

The Rixin neighbourhood committee in the city's northeast has begun a campaign to discourage residents' longstanding habit of wearing pyjamas out of their bedrooms and on the streets, the state-run Youth Daily reported.

"We're telling people not to wear pyjamas in the street because it looks very uncivilised," community official Guo Xilin was quoted as saying.

The Shanghainese habit of wearing pyjamas in public emerged alongside China's economic reforms over the past 30 years as it became a sign of prosperity, because it meant people did not sleep in tattered old clothes.

For a still visibly large number of Shanghainese, wearing pyjamas outside has become more a way of life than a fashion statement, and to outsiders, the phenomenon is part of the city's charm.

Guo, however, called pyjama-wearers "visual pollution" and a public embarrassment to the city.

But some residents still argue wearing pyjamas is perfectly acceptable.

"Pyjamas are also a type of clothes. It's comfortable, and it's no big deal since everyone wears them outside," a retiree surnamed Ge was quoted as saying.

Rixin's pyjama purge campaign is not the first of its kind. In the 1990s Shanghai officials put up signs and ran education campaigns to tell people not to stroll around in night gowns. The campaign's managers eventually gave up.

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