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Chinese shop tenants revolt over rents

Small-business owners suffer as virus eats into shopper traffic and revenue

Demonstrators stage a protest at the New China Plaza apparel market in Guangzhou, China, on March 13. (Photo by Yusuke Hinata)

GUANGZHOU -- Shop tenants across China have protested for rent relief from commercial property owners, aiming to cushion the loss of customer traffic during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 100 people gathered in early March at New China Plaza, a prominent wholesale clothing market in Guangzhou. Demonstrators in face masks held up signs reading: "Refund February's rent. Lower March's rent."

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