Changing China

Giant on the move

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“Vicious cycle” of bike thefts


A man rides a bicycle in Beijing’s central business districtChina has appealed to residents to take “green” transport ahead of the Olympics, casting the city’s pledge to provide clean air and unclogged roads as a civic “duty”.      

I used to take green transport to work, cycling a round trip of 14 miles five days a week in the cooler months, and three days a week in the summer.

And then, last week, my bike got nicked from inside the Central Academy of Fine Arts. I have lost count, but this was either the sixth or seventh bike my family has had stolen since arriving in Beijing in 2003.      

China is home to a world-record 470 million bicycles, but theft is widespread. A common topic of discussion among bike owners is the latest loss, despite chains and padlocks, either in the street or in the lobbies of high-rise apartment blocks.